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As the pitter-patter of raindrops orchestrated a soothing melody outside, the cozy ambiance of the theater beckons cinephiles to a unique cinematic experience. The air was infused with the earthy scent of rain, adding an extra layer of comfort and intimacy to the setting at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), Islamabad. It was not an ordinary film screening, but a rainy-day cinema event— the screening of Kazakh Khanate. A delightful soirée enjoyed by a jam-packed auditorium on a rainy working day afternoon, quite unusual for Pakistan’s federal capital.
Organized by the Kazakhstan embassy in Islamabad in collaboration with Pakistan’s Federal Ministry of National heritage, the event was enriched with a photo-exhibition narrating the story of architectural elegance and heritage galore of the Kazakh dignity of culture and traditions. It was the moment where the magic of storytelling met the serenity of the Kazakh land and the fragrance of rainfall. A great combo indeed was furthered with the soft glow of freshly bloomed smiles of the hosts to the enthusiasts coming to watch the Kazakh Khanate. Ambassador Yerzhan Kistafin and a couple of his colleagues were clad in traditional uppers, especially the women’s attires were more colorful and eye-catching.
Outside, the rain continued to cascade rhythmically while inside the auditorium Kazakh Khanate persistently sustained to spellbind the audience with a soul-touching story of sacrifices for the land, unity of the tribes, arch-rivalry, fighting scenes from 1450s, mass migration, hunger and thirst, and quest for a peaceful piece of land for the Kazakh tribes.
‘Kazakh Khanate: Diamond Sword’ is a large-scale historical drama of the first Kazakh Khans, which the BBC called “Kazakh Game Of Thrones”. The action takes place in the XV century, and the plot demonstrates the key events in the formation of Kazakh statehood under the leadership of Khans Zhanibek and Kerey. Written by Rustem Abdrashev, Smagul Yelubayev and Timur Zhaksylykov, the Diamond Sword was directed by Rustem Abdrashev and produced by Arman Asenov way back in 2016. Its Urdu version was prepared in Pakistan that attracted the local audience that was enveloped in a cocoon of cinematic splendor. The screen becomes a portal to alternate realities, where characters come to life and stories unfold with an intensity that mirrors the storm raging outside.
Finally, as the credits roll and the lights slowly brighten, there is a collective sigh of contentment from the audience—a shared recognition of the transformative power of cinema, especially on a rainy day. As patrons reluctantly depart, they carry with them memories of an unforgettable evening spent in the company of great storytelling, gentle rainfall, and the comforting embrace of the theater.
Two caretaker federal ministers were the chief guests. The information and broadcasting minister Murtaza Solangi and minister for cultural heritage Jamal Shah also emphasized on stronger cultural and trade ties between the people of two nations.
Murtaza Solangi underlined the importance of cinema in addressing the contemporary challenges being faced by the country. He assured to deploy all resources to promote cinema in the country though he would not be in his office in two weeks to ‘deploy’ any resources.
Caretaker Minister for National Heritage and Culture Jamal Shah said: “Cinema is the most effective means of communication to educate, entertain and motivate people. Films highlight people’s stories based on their struggle, achievements, aspirations, failures, successes, sorrows and nightmares. Pakistan and Kazakhstan are two brotherly countries tied in the bonds of history, religion and regional proximity.”
Speaking on the occasion earlier, Ambassador Yerzhan Kistafin stressed the need of bilateral cultural and trade diplomacy to benefit the people of both countries. His ambition for a fast-track and proactive bilateral progress is not undue, not out of the blue. He has been struggling pillar to post since he assumed his office in Islamabad in May 2021, and geared up a successful campaign for Kazakhstan’s trade and cultural diplomacy to earn many feathers for his country, and to win the hearts and souls of the natives. Prior to the appointment served as the Consul Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the US. He has the rank of the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador, second class. It won’t be undue to proclaim him First-Class, and as one of the best-ever foreign diplomats in Pakistan. There is much to learn from such a proactive diplomat – the diamond sword of Kazakhstan Foreign Office.
Munir Ahmed is a geopolitical analyst and Director Devcom-Pakistan. His email is email@example.com