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The position of the artist in the society

Almost all artists in the field of performing arts are free lancers and earn their bread and butter from Radio, TV, Feature films, Stage Programmes advertising agencies and audio/video production  Companies. Most  of  the Private Schools have given jobs of Music Teachers to practicing Musicians. Radio Pakistan has also provided jobs to a small number of Musicians on regular and contractual basis.Pakistan National Council of Arts provided jobs on contractual basis in its following divisions:Puppet Theatre (puppeteers, designers, craft masters and script winters), national performing arts groups (male/female dancers, choreographer, and traditional  musicians), repertory theatre (actors, playwright and director of stage plays). Except for the limited number of those performing artists who are employed in cultural organizations  of government and private sector, the rest of the artist community does not enjoy social security.  However, artists in the field of visual arts enjoy a far better status  as compared to the artists  in  the field of performing arts as most of the painters, sculptors, designers and graphic artists are   employed   as  teachers or professors in schools, colleges & universities and private sector advertising agencies.Every year, government of Pakistan confer National / Presidential Awards in recognition  of their services in their  respective  fields  to  boost  their  status in society. There in no special  quota for the performing or visual artistes/artists in government jobs. However, a quota of 2 % does exist for disabled persons irrespective of their field/ profession.

Institutional and legal framework
Pakistan  National  Council  of  the  Arts,  being a  member state of  UNESCO and its
component organization IMC, has always honoured all the decisions of the under reference organizations.

Governmental bodies in charge of:

Cultural affairs
Ministry of Culture Sports  and Tourism, Government  of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and its component organization, “Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA)”.
Cultural research
There is a Government of Pakistan’s National Commission for  History  and Cultural  Research. PNCA and Lok Virsa are  also carrying out Cultural    Research, purely in Performing and Visual Art fields.
Tax policies and taxation in the feild of culture
Tax is deducted at source  from  the professional Fees of the artistes by the Government controlled Electronic Media and Arts Councils.

Cultural policies
The percentage of the national budget allocated to culture is very nominal and priorities are yet to be ascertained.Nevertheless this percentage reflects a rising trend. 

Policies aimed to the promotion of the arts
Some examples of policies aimed to the promotion of the arts in Pakistan are: the establishment of a separate  Ministry  of Culture in 1976 and the set up of local Arts Councils,of the Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, the construction of New auditorium by Government,
and the establishment of Benevolent Fund for the indigent artistes and their bereaved families,the raising of National song and  Dance ensemble on National and Provincial level, sending of cultural
Delegations for performance abroad,the creation of yearly National Film Award,and  Art Excellence Award (by PNCA), the organization of Artistes and Artisans at Work Festivals

Participation of artists in cultural policy-making
Intellectuals and top artistes are contacted through Seminars organized
by PNCA, Lok virsa and M/o, Culture in collaboration with UNESCO.

Measures taken to improve cultural infrastructures
PNCA’S Act 1973, as passed by the National Parliament do have such Provisions (see copy of the act in section "New")

Integration of disabled artists
Disabled artistes are being provided financial assistance for making their both ends
meet and for their medical treatment from Pakistan Culture, Art and Sports Relief Fund of M/o Culture.

Laws and regulations governing the work of artists in regard to their working conditions
Right Rules of 1967 provide protection to a segment of issues pertaining to the safeguarding of the rights of performing and visual artistes/ artists and writers and poets.The Copy  Right  Act  passed by  the  National  Parliament  and further  amended in 2000 through a Presidential Ordinance, also provides protection to artistes and their rights. However, 1962 Act largely remains unchanged and  may be  construed to  be the definitive legislation governing legislation concerning Pakistan intangible heritage as well as artistes and their works. Chapter III of the Ordinance, in particular, addresses the issue of Musical and Visual works. Chapter IV addresses visual and aural dissemination. Chapter VI lays down rules forcorporate bodies
regarding  reporting  of  fees,  charges  and  royalties.  Chapter XIV  outlines  the  offence andprescribed penalties for the illegal appropriation of intangible heritage.
Poor artistes do receive funds in the shape of monthly stipends from M/o, culture.Artists above 70 years of age are entitled forlife long stipends from Artistes Relief Fund of
Ministry of Culture.

Working Conditions

Work permit for artists
There is no work permit for Artistes for performance in-land and abroad. The artistes enjoy freedom of expression.

Helth care system
Medical facilities are extended to poor artistes from the Artistes Relief Fund of Ministry of Culture. It's applicable only to top indigent artistes and their bereaved families. Life long financial support to all artistes of 70 years and above.

Social Welfare

Insurance schemes in place
And Insurance Scheme for Artists (Performing and Visual Group Insurance Scheme) has been framed and submitted
to Ministry of Culture and Sports for  final approval.

Compulsory Social coverage
The social coverage is compulsory only where artistes are employed, like PNCA, Lok Virsa,local and provincial Arts councils,Radio Pakistan,Pakistan Television Corporation,Academy of Letters,Pakistan Sports Board etc.

Bodies in charge of the administration of contributions and payment of benefits
Ministry of Culture and Sports,Radio Pakistan,Television Corporation,(PTV) PNCA and Lok Virsa (PTV and Lok Virsa are yet to pay their contribution).


Minimum level of payment
There are for categories / classes of artistes, C,B,A and Outstanding.

Artistes are paid directly through crossed cheques after deduction of income Tax at source.


There is not an unemployment insurance scheme for artists. Nevertheless, an artist's Group Insurance scheme is under active consideration of Ministry of Culture and Sports. In case of materialization of the scheme, Ministry of Culture will be the administrative Ministry of the Artistes Group Insurance scheme.

Illegal Work
Piracy is the main problem being faced by the artistes of the South Asia or SAARC Countries. Singers, Musicians, Composers, Lyricists and Actors in particular are the main sufferers. However there is a Royalty Act which is to be brought under practice

Taxes and Tax Advantages

Particular status fos artists
There is not a particular status fos artists. Artists do pay Taxes. All payment to artists by the electronic Media and cultural organisations are made after deduction of necessary Taxes. But none of them enjoy any
particular rebate or status.

Status of royalties in the Tax System
Electronic Media, Radio Pakistan, Pakistan Television, Recording /Advertising agencies and Arts Councils engage the artistes against outright purchase. The Royalty Act is still in practice.The authors of books and lyricists receive and other Performing artistes do receive
Royalty provided they do not opt for our right purchase.

Exeption regarding temporary import duties on cultural products and import duties on equipment and materials required for cultural production

The tax system include exeptions temporary import duties on cultural products and import duties on equipment and materials required for cultural production. Except duty on material used in Feature Films industry, such as picture negative,Picture Positive,Optical/Sound Rolls, Movie and Still cameras, etc. However, musical instruments, books on Arts, CDs, LPs, Pre-recorded Audio Cassettes and Computers are
exempted from duties.

Only entertainment excise duty on ticketed shows and 20% on Commercial stage plays and 62 % on the total ticket sale of commercial concerts. The Producer or the impresario isbound to pay duty where-as performer has nothing to do with any sort of Excise duty.

International Mobility of Artists

Recognition of Foreign Diplomas
There is an official recognition of Foreign Diplomas in the artistic professions

Fellowships and financial aid to promote the mobility of artists
The Ministry of Culture nominates Artists in the field of Performing and Visual
Arts for higher Education in Arts and Culture. The Government  of Pakistan keeps receiving Fellowships and Scholarships in the field of Arts and Culture from UNESCO,  different International Foundations and from different countries, with whom Pakistan has signed Cultural Exchange programmes. Suitable candidates are nominated.

Fellowships and financial aid to promote the mobility of works 
The Ministry of Education, different  universities, Ministry of Culture  and  Pakistan National Council of the Arts do provide fellowships/grants in Aid. Financial Assistance is extended to needy artistes by the Pakistan Culture, Arts and Sports Foundations Relief Fund.

Networks catering for foreign artits
For performers who visit Pakistan under the Cultural Exchange Programme and also to the artists who visit Pakistan in their private capacity or visit Pakistan through impresarios are issued with No objection Certificate (Residence permit) by Ministry of Culture.

Provisions of national laws in regard of foreign artists
The artists who visit Pakistan under Cultural Exchange Programme are provided with local hospitality, Free Medical Facilities and Insurance.

Collective representation

Collective representation of artists
In Pakistan there is no trade union of artists.
Trade unions are only admissible under Industrial and Factory Act, which does not apply on Artists unions as almost all artist(e)s are free  lancers. The artistes, who may be 
one percent of the total artists community and are enjoying regular jobs, have their rightsprotected.
There is a provision laid down in PNCA’s Act 1973, to organize the unions of Pakistani artists and help them in the capacity of arbitrator.
There are unions of artistes performing on Radio, T.V and Films, who negotiate with their respective Administrations for redress of their grievances.

Promotion of social dialogue
Ministry of culture and sports'PNCA is specially concerned with the promotion of social dialogue with artists and their Unions or Associations. Moreover, there are many NGOs like Artistes Equity,Drama Welfare Association(Lahore) Pakistan Motion Pictures Association, Pakistan Film Music Directors Association, All Pakistan Music Conference and Pakistan Classical Music Guild.
Apart from the Ministry, PNCA, National Institute of Folk Heritage and city Arts Council are concerned with promotion of social dialogue.
Thes structures are governmental and semi-governmental.

Continuing training, research and financial aid

Vocational training
Vocational training is not available for artists on government level.

Update of artists skills
The whole system is wrapped in transmission of oral tradition. The Performing Arts such as, Music, Dance,Puppetry are being passed on from bosom to bosom.There is not Conservatory of Music,  Institute  of  Theatre  or  Puppetry.

Institutions providing training in visual arts

  • National  College of Arts is a century old Art Institution, which offers Diploma courses in painting, designing, ceramics and architecture.
  • The Mall, Lahore Department of Fine Arts, University of Punjab, Lahore
  • Fine Arts Department of Peshawar University, Peshawar
  • Fine Arts Department, University of Jamshoro, Hyderabad.
  • Many more Girls Colleges offer Degree and Masters in Fine Arts.

Training to artists in administration, administrative and career management

There is not institutions providing training in these matters. However, Pakistan National Council of the Arts do provide  training in Art  Administration under its Internship Programme.

Retraining of the artists: only short courses are offered at local Arts Council level. Pakistan National Council of Arts in   collaboration with Norwegian governmentt is providing training in Dramatic Arts and offers Diploma course. As far as re-training of artistes is concerned,there is no such institution.

Fellowships for training: government of Pakistan receives Fellowships/ Scholarship from different countries under Cultural  Exchange Programme and also from UNESCO. The number of Fellowships and Scholarships in the field of Performing  and Visual Arts are very limited. The Ministry of Culture and Pakistan National Council of the Arts nominate suitable candidates for higher  studies in Performing and Visual Arts . However at domestic level, no fellowships are being awarded.

Research aide schemes: Pakistan   national   Council  of the Arts and  National  Institutes  of Folk and Traditional Heritage Islamabad,  keep  on  providing  funds  to  researchers and Scholars for  research in different fields of  Performing  and  Visual  Arts. These national Cultural organizations have published over 100 books on Music, Dance, Drama, Puppetry and Visual Arts

Promotion of copyright and neighbouring rights: copyright and neighbouring rights are promoted through seminars,  lectures,  presentation of  programmes on electronic media, newspapers and different periodicals.

Directory of organizations

Governmental cultural organizations

  • Pakistan National Council of the Arts, Islamabad.
  • National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage ( Lok Virsa) Islamabad.
  • National Commission for History and Cultural, Islamabad.
  • National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research.
  • Provincial Arts Councils with their branches in major cities of Pakistan. There are 22 Arts Councils in different cities of Pakistan. Government of Pakistan is funding all.

Ministries, councils and other government bodies in charge of culture 

  • Federal Ministry of Minorities, Culture, Sports, Tourism,  and Youth Affairs, Islamabad.
  • Provincial Ministry of Information and Culture Government of Punjab, Civil Secretariat,Lahore.
  • Provincial Ministry of Information and Culture, Government of North West Frontiers Province,Peshawar
  • Provincial Ministry of Information and Culture, Quetta
  • Provincial Ministry of Information and Culture, Government of SIND, Karachi

Government authorities resposible for the social integration of disabled artists whithin the cultural sector

  • Ministry of Minorities, Culture, Sports, Tourism and Youth Affairs
  • Pakistan Culture, Arts, Sports Foundation Relief Fund, Ministry of Culture
  • Pakistan National Council of the Arts


Source: Pakistan National Council of the Arts, March 2004

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