Grievances of PNCA performers
LAHORE, May 21: Boys and girls of the National Performing Arts Group feel that the Pakistan National Council of Arts, the organisation they work for, treats them stepmotherly when it comes to recognition of their work.
“We are lucky that we have got an opportunity to perform nationally and internationally but it is also true that our talent is not giving us our due,” said a performer.
The group comprising five girls and eight boys told Dawn on Monday at the Shakir Ali Museum that they were in financial trouble due ‘mismanagement’ at the PNCA.
“We receive our payments late. Our jobs are not yet permanent though we have been performing for six years at the PNCA,” he said.
“Meager salaries and cut in payments for doing shows outside Lahore is something nerve shattering.”
They urged the PNCA management to revive the old procedure of payments for shows they performed outside Lahore. “We used to get Rs5,000 per show held outside Lahore during the tenure of DG Naeem Tahir but the practice has been done away with,” said another performer.
A dance teacher of the group regretted that in the last six years he had never been sent abroad with the group for reasons best known to the management based at Islamabad.
Choreographer of the group, Roshan Ara Bokhari, an acclaimed exponent of kathak dance, said: “I am the one who conceives and designs the costumes of the group besides doing many main task of choreography but I have never been given any credit for my services”.
Defending the council, Shakir Ali Museum Director Amna Pataudi said “we just can’t afford permanent jobs for these performers because most of them, specially girls, quit when they find some better opportunity. That is why they are hired on three to six months renewable contracts.”
About delayed or non-payment of shows, Ms Pataudi said that council was doing a `strategic planning’ to overcome all problems faced by the group people.
The director said before raising so many objections one should keep in mind that council was paying salaries on a regular basis to these performers. “The council is very much aware of their needs.” The NPAG, established on May 4, 2006, at Shakir Ali Museum is a subsidiary of the PNCA in Lahore. The main objective for establishing the NPAG was to promote country’s soft image.