very idea of a festival is an absolute joy for me and my
organization. Since 1992, my organization's dream to host
the first international festival of puppetry in Pakistan
has crystallized into a palpable reality, and we have walked
this path ever since evolving into something that has become
an enormous inspiration, and interest, for both the audiences
and fellow artists alike. Now, we have held 15 international
festivals of performing arts, never looking back even once.
in a fragile region, doing internal and global networking
of artists has been a real learning experience. There
was a time when there were only a few questions about
simple fears to answer to our colleagues coming to Pakistan.
Now, in just a few years, there has been so much that
has happened in this region: Pakistan's nuclear tests,
the war in Kargil, the post-effects of 9/11, the Pakistan-India
political tensions, the war in Afghanistan and the spill
over effect of the Taliban in Pakistan, America's 'crusade'
with the 'war on terrorism'. All these have left Pakistan
and this entire region in an isolated state and a very
delicate situation. Coming to Pakistan now has many more
fears than mere floods, or dust, or even having a bad
stomach; it has now become projected by the media as something
close to life threatening for news sensationalism, whereas
the ground realities are extremely different. It is only
when the people actually come here to the festival that
they manage to see, and understand, the true face of a
culturally rich and thriving Pakistan instead of the media's
version of it.
the midst of all of this, we have managed to cheer millions
of people. They have shared an enchanting experience with
more than three thousand delegates, from all over the
world, who visited Pakistan and left a wealth of knowledge,
art, and a sense of cultural roots like nothing ever before.
The world performing arts festival is the result of all
these images and aspirations that have fused together
from the area of puppetry, theatre, music, dance, and
film in the melting pot of what the international festivals
have been. We strongly felt that all the forms must exist
together on one platform, as a tribute celebration of
all the grand art forms and disciplines.
year's festival features around sixteen foreign companies
and several local troupes from all disciplines of the
performing arts. We expected a much higher international
turnout for this year's festival, but the international
strife in the region and global events have drastically
affected the attendance. However, we promise a very exciting
festival with some truly memorable international and Pakistani
performances. We also hope that The World Performing Arts
Festival Pakistan in the year 2004 will be even greater,
and in the years to come will definitely become a vital
festival of the world. With all this we struggle and hope
to change the perception of people about the world and
its culture and regional differences. I hope to share
this magical and historic experience with you, and hope
that you enjoy this year's festival.