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Policies and Actions


National level agency/organisation dedicated to preservation and promotion of traditional/folk performing arts

National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage of Pakistan

Prominent NGOs working in this field


Brief chronology-history

Pakistan became an independent country in 1947. For almost more than two decades it could not stabilize itself in all sectors. Later gradually it gained strength. Even then stress was on economic front, culture was rather in oblivion. But in 70's importance of art and culture especially folk art was recognized and appropriate measures taken in this regard.

Our folk arts are centuries old, as these arts should be. Unfortunately these arts are not succeeding and there is a kind of halt. Awareness is being created by organizing workshops, exhibitions, musical evenings, stage plays, craft festivals etc. Architectural sites are being renovated by our especially foreign trained personal and through the help of donor agencies. Traditional crafts are given boost on economic front by exporting them to cities and out of country. It not only improved the living standard of these craftsmen but also resulted in improving the quality of product also. Stipends are being given to our musicians, vocalists and instrumentalists, so they can devoted more time to their art and do not worry about their living. They are also invited to musical functions at different cities and abroad also, so as to acquaint people more and more about these artists and their art.

In Pakistan, folk music and dance have been kept alive miraculously through celebration of URS (Annual birth or death anniversaries of our mystic poets and saints) at different regions of Pakistan. It also helped in transition of cultures as people from all parts of the country visit these URS without any distinction of class and creed.

These measures are still not enough for revival of folk arts. Much more funds and even more efforts are needed to fulfill the task.

Legislation in this field

National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, Islamabad (enact. 5 February 1981)

Whereas the Government of Pakistan in supersession of its notification of even number dated 12-11-1974, as amended vide No. F.4-5/77-CO.1 dated 20-10-1977, has decided that the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, Islamabad, shall be an autonomous body, under the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism with its aims and objectives as:

- To engage in research, systematic collection, documentation, scientific preservation, projection and dissemination of oral traditions, folklore, and other aspects of indigenous cultural heritage

- To aim at strengthening and nurturing the roots of Pakistani Culture and to achieve fundamental objectives, namely rediscovery and reinterpretation of our cultural heritage to enable us to project the true identity of Pakistan.

Category/types of performing arts

Bhangra, Sami, Luddi, Khattak, Chapp, Jhumer. All these dances have special tunes & lyrics.

Pottery (Clay), embroidery (different for all regions)which includes shisha Kaari, block printing clothes (traditional designs)Kashmiri, Baluchi, Sindhi embroidery, Ralli, laces made through crochet, embroidery on leather, wood carving, lamps and other crafts made on specially treated camel skin, blankets and warm cloth made from camel and goat hairs.

A vast collection of beautiful traditional instruments exists, including: flute, rabab, sitar, iktara, naqqara, narr shehnai.
-One of our folk art is oratory of traditional folk love stories. These words/verses kept on transferring orally from generation to generation. The accuracy is amazing. These stories are of a Heer-Ranjha, Sassi-Punno, Mirza-Sahiban, Yousuf-Shehr Bano.
-Special evenings are arranged and people gather around to hear these stories, sung with minimum music in beautiful tunes. It is still very popular in our villages and much appreciated.


Does not exist

Audio・visual documentation collection

Form of documentation: photograph, audio cassette, video cassette
Available for viewing/listening

Aspects of traditional/folk performing arts in education


Data provider

Ms. Lubna Qureshi
Proof Reader (Publication, Research & Reference Division)
Pakistan National Council of the Arts
Address: Block 6/C, Markaz F-7, Islamabad, Pakistan