A mischief game at PNCA

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M.Z.Rifat
It is quite alarming to note that a mischief game is being played at the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) these days which urgently needs to be checked forthwith before withering away of the precious national art treasures on one pretext or the other. Anwar Jalal Shemza was a celebrated artist , a well- known writer and poet and had breathed his last on January 14, 1985. In order to pay tributes to him, PNCA organized an exhibition of his creative art and reportedly borrowed 10 paintings from his family for this purpose. After the exhibition, these paintings were put on PNCA’s Permanent Collection at
National Art Gallery where these are still displayed along with art works of number of prominent artists. During last couple of years or so, according to the information, a crude attempt is being made to return these paintings, which have remained unclaimed for almost three decades, to the heirs of Shemza. This mischief game is being played under the nose of the Federal Culture Minister at the instigation of his Lahore-based well-known artist, former Principal of National College of Arts and owner of an art gallery cousin. It is pertinent to mention here over the years, Shemza’s art work prices have gone up
considerably and this financial interest so involved has apparently prompted all officials, supposed to bethe custodians of the national art treasures, to join hands and deprive Pakistan of its highly valuable arttreasures thus knowingly or otherwise commit a colossal crime. How come the heirs of Shemza havesuddenly surfaced after more than three decades to claim his art work at PNCA Permanent Collection without the instigation and encouragement from some big names in the art circles of Pakistan ? Who is going to check and stop this ongoing mischief game at the PNCA before it is too late, please?