PNCA stages drama on patriotism

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Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) in association with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting staged “Black and White”, a bilingual play, at the Council’s auditorium raising the question whether a true Pakistani could survive in the present circumstances with his ‘old nostalgic thoughts’ or otherwise and criticising society’s reaction towards a true passionate patriot.
The play was written by Ahsan Nadeem and directed by Arshad Minhas and shows the stark contrast between civil society, medical practitioners, police department, amils, najumis, and pirs, and pressure groups who feign to be working for an individual’s welfare, but are involved in malpractices and minting money.
The freedom fighter protagonist is an old mannamed Khokar who lives in an interior part of the city and believes that since he should be given due recognition for his role as an active fighter who had struggled for independence along hundreds of Muslims in the Sub-continent, but who on the contrary lives in a rundown place full of foul smell.
The bilingual play in Urdu and English starts off with a scene of a foreigners asking each other whether there exists in the city a true patriotic with a passion for freedom. They ask others the same question and one man says yes, there lives one such person in a narrow street full of stench.
The foreigners go to visit the said person who turns out to be living hand-to-mouth in worn dirty clothes. ‘Sacha Pakistani’ as the name given him in the drama, which portrays cultural onslaught, diffusion of language, societal shift towards foreign trends, role of pressure groups and malpractices of doctors, policemen and civil society members. The said man asks one question from the visitors, “Where is Quaid’s Pakistan?” but gets no answer in response.
The character of Khokhar also tries to awaken the audience to think whether every citizen and organisations are playing their true part in ensuring the prosperity of their nation which was acquired after a long unflinching struggle.
He shows his ragged cloth claiming they are his ‘medals’ for being a candid and practical supporter of Quaid. “I will continue my quest to explore the real Pakistan in the present circumstances,” Khokhar says emotionally while criticising the role of civil society.
People around Khokhar meanwhile label him as antisocial and insane for his passion and love for his homeland.
At the end, Khokhar is hospitalised and later dies peacefully cursing the nation. He has been treated by doctors in hospitals using spurious drugs, fake amils who force him to die early while after his death police officials inquiring into his death take bribe from these doctors and amils to not arrest them.
His death remains a mystery while police formally announce that Khokhar died a natural death. Later, the investigation is lost in the red tape process and forgotten.
Renowned television and theatre artists including Anjum Habibi, Arshad Minhas, Imtiaz Ali Kashif and Memoona Mushtaq performed in the play.
A PNCA official anonymously told this scribe that the play was a plagiarised version of a play titled ‘Buddha’ that was staged a few months ago at Liaquat Hall, Rawalpindi. “Dr Waqar Azeem, assistant in Drama Section has altered the script of this play and approved it under the pseudonym ‘Ahsan Nadeem’.
He has been doing this for long and the PNCA administration has not investigated the matter so far,” the official said, adding that Azeem who was also a homeopathic doctor had been allegedly involved in minting money illegally. “Azeem hired drama artists and gave them Rs 5,000-7,000 instead of Rs 10,000 while he plagiarised old drama scripts and staged them in his own name or that of his son and wife in the past,” the official alleged. When contacted for his version, Dr Waqar Azeem did not receive calls on his cell phone.