Sunday, February 5, 2023
HomeGo To Pakistan‘Taliban rule’: Pakistanis fume after police violently disrupt Pashtun singer’s concert

‘Taliban rule’: Pakistanis fume after police violently disrupt Pashtun singer’s concert

Singer, poet and scholar, Karan Khan’s music is derived from his experiences and lived identity as a Pashtun. A police 'attack' on his concert didn't go well with Pakistanis.

Text Size:

New Delhi: The violent disruption of a Pashtun singer’s private concert has led to public outcry in Pakistan, with several saying the attack threatened Pashtun identity and put the Peshawar police on an equal footing with the Taliban.

On Friday night, Pashtun singer, poet and scholar Dr Karan Khan was performing at a wedding in Nazirabad in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, when the police stormed the venue claiming to act on complaints by local clerics and residents.

According to the police, the local clerics and residents of the neighbourhood were opposing the show because it was held on Shab-i-Barat, which is celebrated on the 14th or 15th day of Sha’ban, the eighth month of the Islamic calendar.

But if news reports and videos of the incident are anything to go by, the police did much more than just stop the event. A video of the event doing the rounds on social media shows an abandoned stage with broken chairs and instruments.

Dilshad Afridi, in whose house the wedding took place, was quoted by Dawn newspaper as saying, “We had gathered on the night of March 18 to celebrate the wedding of my friend with Karan Khan performing for some 100 guests,” adding, “The police suddenly raided the venue, manhandling the guests and breaking the instruments.”

The Express Tribune reports that the Peshawar police released a press note with the claim that they acted on the complaints of “enraged” religious students. Khan and other musicians were taken to the police station and later released, allegedly to protect them from the students and clerics.

“A few armed men were also taken into custody by police on the charges of displaying weapons. Musicians and the singer were allowed to go from the police station,” the press release says 

Also read: Who are Pashtuns? Afghan majority with countless tribes that Imran Khan got wrong

Support from the public

Over the weekend, Pashtun activists and social media users expressed outrage, saying the police’s crackdown was no less than an act of terrorism and threat to Pashtun identity.

Pakistanis used the hashtag #WeStandWithKaranKhan in solidarity with the Pashtun singer. Founder and head of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) Manzoor Pashteen tweeted: “Police brutal attack on event of @karanpukhtoon in Peshawar is highly deplorable & dehumanizing. Human dignity is inviolable which must be protected. Such state of exception must ends.”

Also read: Why Manzoor Pashteen, a young Pashtun leader, is a thorn in Pakistani army’s side

A lived reality

Karan Khan’s music is derived from his experiences and lived identity as a Pashtun. Al Jazeera reported that he was one of the millions of people who had to flee the Swat Valley in 2008 when the Pakistan Army fought the Taliban in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

“There is something for every Pashtun living in any part of the world,” Khan told The Express Tribune in a separate interview, adding, “There are romantic ghazals, some songs for peace in Peshawar, some on history, and some, on the war that has affected people of the province. Songs have been sung as prayers to God to bless our region with prosperity.”.

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism

Most Popular