Academy of Letters running without chairman, DG | Pakistan Today

Academy of Letters running without chairman, DG

The Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) which is the biggest national literary organisation in the country has currently no chairman and director general to run its affairs. The post of chairman has been lying vacant since July 25, 2011, after the termination of Fakhar Zaman’s contract, while the chair of director general has also been awaiting a new boss for the last 20 days. The PAL director general’s slot fell vacant after the transfer of Khalid Yasir to Urdu Science Board. In the absence of the chairman and DG, administrative work and literary activities in the academy have literally come to a standstill. For the last two months not a single literary activity was held and no book published by PAL.
“Without the approval of chairman and DG, we cannot arrange any function aiming to promote literature while our publications work has also stopped as we didn’t publish even a single book for the last two months,” said a senior official of PAL, seeking anonymity.
It is relevant to note here that deserving writers and poets are also suffering a lot for nonpayment of emergency funds from the PAL as only chairman has discretion to grant such funds to them.
Writers and poets are also not being paid stipend against the publications of their books. Besides, payment of stipends for the widows of writers has also stopped. “We have enough funds for writers but we have no authority to release it as only chairman can do so,” said the official.
The construction work of an auditorium on the premises of PAL named after Faiz Ahmed Faiz is also suffering as no one is there to follow the case before the government for the release of funds for auditorium.
The construction work of the auditorium was started some three years ago, but it could not be completed so far and is facing shortage of funds and lack of support from the officials at the helm of the affairs.
This state-of-the-art auditorium was scheduled to be completed in February 2011 to match the 100th birth anniversary of Faiz, but its construction was stopped in February 2009 for lack of interest on the part of the PAL administration and the federal government.
A senior PAL official told Pakistan Today on condition of anonymity that Rs 39 million were allocated for the project in 2008, but the government had released only Rs 20 million so far.
“The auditorium has been left to lie in ruins and a further delay in the construction work can cause a lot of damage to its structure, which will result in increasing its finishing cost,” he said.
The government has released a paltry Rs 800,000 for the project over the last one year while the release of the remaining funds is doubtful.
The auditorium would have a 400-seat grand hall, a committee room, a conference room and a lobby. “The first literary television channel of the country has also been planned to be set up in the basement of this building,” he added.
Talking to Pakistan Today, writers and intellectuals from the twin cities expressed their dismay over the government’s attitude towards PAL.
An Islamabad-based short story writer, Munir Ahmed, said it seemed the government had no vision to promote literature and culture. “Unless this type of national institutions is not given proper attention by the government, we cannot showcase our national identity,” he said.
The PAL was established in 1976 during the premiership of PPP founder, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to promote literature.

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  1. Akmal Naeem said:

    Yeh adab ki bad qismati hae
    ya adeebo’n ki na aehlee
    k acadmi adbiyat ka koei walee waris nahi
    sirf paesey aor ikhtiyarat par nazar rakhne walon se idaro’n ki jaan kab chootey gi aor kab adab azad ho ga
    yeh koei nahi janta
    bas khoon k aansoo haen jo ham baha sakte haen
    ALLAH rehm karey

  2. amina said:

    Govt should take the above matter seriously and i think Mr.Agha Gul from quetta is the most suitable person to be chairman of accademy of letter as he is a very good writer and he has been serving as a govt servant as a Ad DG Pakistan post and has very good reputation as wel

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