By Our Correspondent SKARDU: Collective efforts are needed to preserve and promote the unique Balti language and the rich culture of Baltistan. This was stated by Sheikh Hafizi, a noted Indian scholar of Balti language and culture, during a special sitting following a reception hosted in his honour by Bazm-i-Ilm-o-Fun Skardu. He said culturally and linguistically the land of Baltistan was very fertile and efforts should be made to promote its potentials. He said thousands of Balti people living in India had good wishes for their brethren in Baltistan. Sheikh Hafizi asked scholars, literati and poets of Balti language to strive to maintain their unique identity and promote their culture. He said in India they had launched a countrywide campaign to preserve the Balti language and culture. For this purpose, he added, they had also formed an All-India Balti Association, which was actively working to bring the Balti language scholars and writers under one platform and make collective efforts for the progress of their culture. He said a three-day Balti convention was also held in Ambala recently in which literary personalities and scholars highlighted the unique characteristics of Balti language and culture and stressed the need to preserve and further promote it. He said his message to the Balti people wherever they lived was that they should make efforts at the individual and collective levels to promote their identity and preserve their language and culture. Local scholars, poets and writers on the occasion paid tributes to the guest and highlighted efforts being made for promotion of Balti language and culture in the area. Prominent who were present on the occasion included historian Mohammad Hasan Hasrat, scholars and writers Yusuf Husainabadi, Kachu Haider Shah, Haji Fida Mohammad Nashad, adviser buildings Haji Ibrahim Shah, Prof Hashmat Kamal, Mohammad Abbas, Syed Amjad Ali, Farman Ali Khiyal, Zeeshan Mehdi, Arif Suhab, Ihsan Ali Danish and Mir Aslam Sahar. Mohammad Hasan Hasrat’s new book on Baltistan’s culture and a collection of Zeeshan Mehdi’s poems along with a booklet published by Bazmi-i-Ilm-o-Fun were presented to the guest on the occasion.