Salman Ahmad

In the history of nations, there comes a time, when the chasm between what its people deserve and what they are getting is so huge, that revolutionary changes are needed to restore the balance. I believe that time is now for the people of Pakistan. It does not take much to look around at statistics and news from nearly any perspective to see that the State and the existing mind set amongst the Pakistanis has moved astray from the vision of the founding fathers. I have received countless e-mails, calls and tweets from concerned Pakistanis who all want to see a fundamental change in the dangerous trajectory that Pakistan is on.The time for idle drawing room wistful talk is long gone. Nor do we have the luxury of time available to us. As individuals we have a choice to make.
Do we let the forces that are at play act themselves out to the detriment and possible destruction of the country? Or do we in our own small, individual little way do something… anything positive to stem the slide and define a path towards a New Pakistan.
We have reached this state not because of a single cataclysmic event, but because of a long series of wrong policies, wrong decisions, wrong attitudes, lack of action when it was sorely needed and wrong values. Pakistan is bleeding from a million cuts ranging from suicide bombers, drones firing missiles into people’s homes, schools being blown up, corruption amongst the leaders and power holders, Arabization of our value system to name a few.

The journey out of this deep hole is going to be equally arduous and long. But it is a journey that MUST be undertaken. This journey is not to go back to some point in our history, but to chart out a new and shared vision for a New Pakistan, in the spirit that was first formulated by the founding fathers. It is a vision in which ALL PAKISTANIs irrespective of their ethnicity, religion or social status have

  • Security and Access to Timely Justice.
  • Access to Quality Basic Education.
  • Access to Basic Health Care.
  • Access to Gainful Employment.

I’m starting an ART (AMAN,ROZI & TALEEM) social awareness campaign across Pakistan. Everyone from across the spectrum can agree on the slogan of Aman (Peace and regional harmony), Rozi (economic security) and Taleem (Education). This is a non political, non partisan and non violent movement which Pakistani women and men of all ages and inclinations can agree upon.
The first phase will require social media (twitter, facebook and skype ,TV & radio) to reach out with a new message of hope and change. Once people from all sides of the spectrum can agree on these three basic needs (Aman, Rozi and Taleem), we can initiate the second phase.

In the Second phase we will conduct town hall type events with Pakistani intellectuals, entrepreneurs, artists and humanitarians who will echo the need for pluralism and unity to counter the extremism and lack of hope that is spreading like wildfire.
Our goal is to bring about a fundamental change in the contract between the individual and the state as it is being currently practiced. It is to recalibrate the implementation of the existing Constitution and the obligations of both the State and the individual.
Our vision is for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Pakistan engaged positively with the world community.
Nelson Mandela once said “It always seems impossible, until its done”

I encourage  you all to come together in unity and take the First Step on this journey.

Salman’s Message to you

Thanks for your interest in this Urgent Pak initiative. Our first step is galvanizing a social network of Pakistanis and friends of Pakistan to agree on these three imperatives (Aman,Rozi & Taleem) for all Pakistanis. We’re working on a documentary film which will highlight through arts and culture the power and resilience of Pakistan. Friends like you can help us in many ways,

  • Help amplify the message of A.R.T. Campaign throughout your social media networks.
  • Help us identify organizations who would like to amplify this movement across Pakistan.
  • Expand your imagination on the three words (Aman,Rozi & Taleem) and what they mean to you as a Pakistani, and write an op-ed /blog in the media
  • Help support our media out reach and town hall events with resources.
  • Think of a better way than above to help spread ART across Pakistan.

Supporters of A.R.T

Dr. Tahir Ul Qadri, Maulana Ghamidi, Pervez Hoodboy, Akbar Ahmad, Syed Babar Ali, Amin Hashwani,Beena Sarwar, Dr.Samina Ahmad, Reza Aslan (author of How to win a cosmic war) Amy Tan (author), Stanley Wolpert (author of Jinnah) Dr.Azra Raza, DR.Tasnim Raza, Abid Shaban, Mehmal Sarfraz, Taimur Rahman (professor LUMS / Laal) Pakistani students Lums, Harvard, Columbia,Princeton, AIESEC, Dr. Mahjabeen Islam, Imraan Ghazali, Rashid rahman, Nosheen Rahman, Suhail Shaikh, plus hundreds of others.

“It’s time we understood that the Arts are huge drivers for change. Whilst many policy-makers consider the Arts to be a fluffy luxury in times of crisis, it is up to us – the creatives – not to simply produce good work, but to evaluate the success of it and to present it in a meaningful way. No where in the world is the potential for using the Arts to develop peace, jobs and education greater than in Pakistan”
- Caroline Jaine – artist, film-maker with a background in diplomacy and communication

“The 21st century is an era of connectivity and communication. The global community wants to see a strong and stable Pakistan become a vital place for A.R.T. ( peace,economic security and education).”
- Deepak Chopra

“Art transcends human frailty and weaknesses and elevates human emotions to levels that bring the best out in us. The Pakistan ART campaign promises to stir the soul of Pakistanis in these challenging times and elevate thought and action to a level that brings out the best in every human being. Most importantly, I am sure this campaign will kindle a strong desire in the hearts of Pakistanis to work towards peace with its neighbours and foster brotherly love between all those who are blessed to live in South Asia.”
-R K Pachauri, (Nobel Prize Winner)

“In my visits to Pakistan, I found a country facing tremendous difficulties with poverty, access to healthcare and education. But everywhere I went, I found a vibrant, optimistic people with a deep sense of culture and the arts. The ART campaign could not be better timed, especially for the youth of Pakistan. There can be no better effort to lift the spirits of all Pakistanis than to know that their culture and arts are gifts to be shared, not only with each other, but also with the whole world.”

-Jeff Skoll (Chairman of Skoll Foundation, co-founder and ex-President of E-bay,Chairman of Participant Production film company)

“Art enables us to look directly into the heart of the artist and appreciate his or her unique vision of the world, sense of beauty, nobility, compassion and empathy. The Pakistan Art Campaign will enable Pakistanis to appreciate the soul of their nation. And it will enable the rest of the world to look into the unique soul of Pakistan and – at a time of international tension – learn about the reality of Pakistan, which lies beneath the headlines, and come to a new understanding of the beauty, generosity, compassion and courage of the Pakistani spirit’. ‘I have come to love Pakistan and would like the world to see the country and the people as I do.”

Karen Armstrong (Author and creator of the Charter for compassion)

When I listen to people talk about peace efforts and concerns about Pakistan, I worry that much of the focus is short-sighted.  The future also depends on addressing the heart, soul, and mind of the younger generation–the children, youth, and young adults, those under 29, who constitute half of the world’s population.  Sooner than we think, they will decide what happens in an expanding world.  How can we prepare them to address the issues of peace that relate so much to poverty, disease, inequality, and lack of education?  One answer is obvious: By creating more gateways through the social media they are adept at using daily–Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, and other connection points.  That is where they create communities and have real-time dialogue about both shared interests and their uniqueness.
ART creates the new important portals for bridging communities.  Pakistanis are individuals with their own ways of thinking about their lives and their attitudes about the rest of the world.  ART emphasizes the daily, ongoing concerns of youth–jobs, education, and opportunities, what they need to take care of for themselves as  they look outward.  ART can go beyond the limitations of  world politics and diplomacy by going directly to the ongoing source for daily positive change:  children and youth.

I am grateful they have come on the scene.

–Amy Tan (Author & Activist)

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2 Responses to “The Start of A.R.T. Inquilaab in Pakistan -Iftitah-e-Inquilaab”

  1. Anthony Galli on July 5th, 2011 6:39 pm

    The philosopher Nietzsche famously remarked that “without music, life would be a error.” Indeed, I believe that is true of all art. The health of a society – its imagination, its questioning (yes, even critical thinking), and its vision (of the future, and identity) – would be impoverished and abused, if not lost altogether.

    Bharat, like many ancient civilizations, represented the arts through a female. Saraswati, the goddess of the river (literally, the “flowing woman”) was also one of learning, arts, literature, and culture (and later still, intelligence, consciousness, cosmic knowledge, creativity, education, enlightenment, music, eloquence and power).

    A society lacking in art – and perhaps not coincidentally steeped in aggressive, martial values – is dried up, unhealthy (unbalanced) and lacking in real life.

  2. Sundas Azeem on July 19th, 2011 2:58 pm

    A.R.T…Iftatah-e-Inqalab is a wonderful endeavor to bring change and change, when it comes from well known and respected people like Salman Ahmad becomes a mass success. I wish him, his team and all his supporters the very best. We all want to see a progressive and peaceful Pakistan..let us show THEM how artistic, linguistically diverse and intellectually ingenious we are as a nation… we are not “dried up”, “unhealthy” and “unbalanced” at all. I am starting support of this RIGHT NOW through my social network….