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Ashu Lal and Mustansar Hussain Tarar refuse to take literary awards from government

The highest literary award of the country, ‘Kamal-e-Fun’, which is awarded under the banner of Pakistan Academy of Letters has been refused by two of Pakistan’s literati, Ashu Lal and Mustansar Hussain Tarar.

Announced on March 31, the award was first refused by Seraiki poet Ashu Lal who said that he cannot take an award from a government which is ‘anti-people and anti-art’. He also pointed at the socio-political instability prevalent in the country as a result of the state’s lack of seriousness, and also at the number of young activists missing for calling out the government’s irresponsible behaviour regarding multiple aspects.

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The award, which was then also announced for travel-writer, novelist and intellectual Mustansar Hussain Tarar, was refused by the latter as well, who had reasons different from Ashu Lal for not accepting Pakistan’s highest literary award. According to Mustansar Hussain Tarar, it is against the tradition of the award to divide it between two people. Since the sharing of the award with another person is a sort of disrespect to his long literary career and his integrity as a person as well, he therefore cannot accept it, said the ‘Khas-o-Khashaak Zamaane’ fame writer. He also added that after sixty years of creativity, he cannot receive the award, and that too being divided between two people which has never happened before. “There is no such thing as ‘half a writer’,” he said.

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