PA concert ban: Another day, another disappointment

Published: January 26, 2012

Faisal Kapadia of Strings says "I know this resolution is a result of the tragedy that took place at Alhamra but this not the way to go about it." PHOTO:FILE

Khurram Waqar of Qayaas says "It was a very sad day in the history of Punjab and music industry in general.." PHOTO: FILE Meekal Hassan says "These people have made Pakistan a cultural wasteland." PHOTO:FILE Faisal Kapadia of Strings says "I know this resolution is a result of the tragedy that took place at Alhamra but this not the way to go about it." PHOTO:FILE Shallum Xavier of Fuzon says "My heart goes out to those who suffered in the Alhamra tragedy, but this resolution shows the incompetence of the Punjab government." PHOTO:FILE Ali Azmat says "The government has never really understood the issues of the country and this how they react in ignorance." PHOTO:FILE Ali Noor of Noori says "I am extremely offended by this statement." PHOTO:FILE Adnan Sarwar of Club Caramel "The government has all the protocol and security to provide to an organisation like Jamaatud Dawa, that is allowed to hold Difa-i-Pakistan Conference with thousands of people, but they don’t have security to give to 300 students at a concert." PHOTO:FILE Ahmed Ali Butt of Entity Paradigm says "The government has done their level best to destroy arts and culture in Pakistan." PHOTO:FILE
LAHORE: 

The Punjab Assembly’s resolution to ban ‘objectionable’ concerts in educational institutions passed on January 24 was refuted by another resolution submitted by PPP MPA Sajida Meer. The latter resolution called for the promotion of cultural activities in the assembly on January 25 and stated that the former ban did not ‘suit the 21st century. When the opposition leader, Raja Riaz of PPP, was denied permission to speak, the opposition staged a walked out from the Punjab Assembly.

The hype around the resolution has snowballed into wide condemnation from leading musicians of the Pakistani music industry. The move is seen as a major blow for artists, who, in a large part, earn their bread and butter from live shows and concerts.

The resolution was passed three weeks after the stampede at Alhamra led to the death of three young girls during an Atif Aslam concert.

Ahmed Ali Butt (Entity Paradigm)

The government has done their level best to destroy arts and culture in Pakistan. But despite this music survives because the internet has provided another platform for artists to promote their music on. They don’t realise that music has now become a branch of education and by putting a damper on the music industry, they are actually hurting an important channel of education.

Adnan Sarwar (Club Caramel)

The government has all the protocol and security to provide to an organisation like Jamaatud Dawa, that is allowed to hold Difa-i-Pakistan Conference with thousands of people, but they don’t have security to give to 300 students at a concert. In such a situation, India seems like the only option, but then don’t blame us for not being the ‘ideal’ ambassadors of Pakistan.

Ali Noor (Noori)

I am extremely offended by this statement. The reason we entered the music industry was to touch the cultural sensitivities of the people through live music. I have stayed away from politics throughout my music career but this is something totally unacceptable. If the government ends up passing this bill, I am not going stay silent this time around. It’s not about our livelihood; it’s a matter of principle.

Ali Azmat

The government has never really understood the issues of the country and this how they react in ignorance. I have been speaking with PML-N MPA Mohsin Latif and the Punjab chief minister and have been using Twitter to gather support against the resolution. The musicians have done little to protect their rights, which is why we don’t know about our legal rights.

Shallum Xavier (Fuzon)

My heart goes out to those who suffered in the Alhamra tragedy, but this resolution shows the incompetence of the Punjab government. About 15 years ago, there was a ban on wearing jeans and keeping long hair  and this just sounds like one of those ridiculous acts. The government has never bothered to arrange funds for the musicians but they seem more than enthusiastic to stop their bread and butter. People fear Talibanisation, they don’t realise that acts like these show that Taliban thinking has already become a part of our mindset.

Faisal Kapadia (Strings)

I know this resolution is a result of the tragedy that took place at Alhamra but this not the way to go about it. Instead of banning concerts you should work on improving the security protocols and event management. Not only are concerts the only way of making a living for the musicians, they also are the only form of live entertainment.We already have Indian content running all over the channels and this is just the nail in the coffin. Punjab is the biggest venue for live performances and such a ban could seriously damage the music industry.

Meekal Hassan

These people have made Pakistan a cultural wasteland. When they closed down public venues, schools and colleges were the only source of revenue for artists. I’m planning to file a civil suit against the government. I will be meeting with my lawyer to stop the resolution before it goes through the legislative process.

Khurram Waqar (Qayaas)

It was a very sad day in the history of Punjab and music industry in general. Pakistanis are frustrated because they don’t have enough cathartic space. Cricket matches are not happening anymore and the only live action left is live music. If they keep on putting bans on leisure activities, people will definitely become suicidal.

(With additional reporting by Rafay Mahmood)

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2012.

Reader Comments (34)

  • Ali
    Jan 26, 2012 - 12:39AM

    When will these stupid leaders start thinking about the real issues and well being of the public? When?

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  • Usman Shahid
    Jan 26, 2012 - 12:43AM

    In educational institutions everything should be allowed except education :)

    Concerts in schools and colleges purpose? education ?
    Why not in other places and leave educational institutions for education.

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  • Irfan Urfi
    Jan 26, 2012 - 1:23AM

    Na Manzoor !

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  • Shahid
    Jan 26, 2012 - 1:33AM

    Absolutely correct!

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  • Aviator
    Jan 26, 2012 - 1:51AM

    The resolution is one of the most idiotic things I have heard of – the cause of the deaths of the concert fans was because of a few criminals who caused the stampede by creating a bomb haux. It was nothing to do with the music or musicians themselves. So surely the response should have been to try and apprehend those responsible, and to improve security and create stronger health and safety regulations to improve not only concerts, but all public gatherings?

    But no, there are Talibinised elements within the goverment who are bent upon enacting laws that reflect their warped agendas, and will use any excuse, no matter how pathetic the argument.

    If people care about pakistani music and the harm that this resolution will do the music industry, they should protest, write to the members of the punjab government, chief minister to pressure them to overturn this.

    I am heartened to see the response so far from musicians to take a stand against this, I know how passionate pakistanis are about their music, as I am! Am hopeful something positive will come out of this.

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  • Hashim
    Jan 26, 2012 - 2:17AM

    I hope the idiots who are trying to pass this bill are all brought before the court themselves!
    This is an attack against Pakistan!
    How can you ban music?!
    Pakistan needs music. Pakistan needs culture. What we dont need are these politicans. We should speak out.

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  • khalid mahmood
    Jan 26, 2012 - 2:55AM

    contructive step od PA,we appercaite this and others provential assembly should also follow
    this.

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  • Sedqal
    Jan 26, 2012 - 2:58AM

    Good work Punjab Govt. now bring a legislation for banning Jamiat and ISF to improve the overall environment of educational institutes.Recommend

  • waqar
    Jan 26, 2012 - 3:33AM

    @usman the youth need these activities to keep their own sanity…. and educational institutes are among the safest place to hold concerts in… if the management does their job well
    i’d rather go to a concert in a uni campus than in an open field

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  • dr j tipu
    Jan 26, 2012 - 4:30AM

    tells us all how incompetent these people are sitting in PA today, unintelligent, unrealistic, and complete non sense. Punjab assembly should all resign for being so stupid!

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  • mir
    Jan 26, 2012 - 8:04AM

    this type of resolution must be condemned, today they ban musical concerts, tomorrow they will ban wearing jeans then long hairs, then tv,radio,internet,mobile phone and phone packages and list will go on and on, rather working on providing better health facilities, security, employment opportunities, education etc, they are passing ridiculous resolutions and trying to be too intrusive in private lives, this exposes their understanding and capability of handling of issues relating to people.

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  • Fahd
    Jan 26, 2012 - 8:29AM

    We used to have a concert every other week in our univ, there were never any security issues, prolly because they were all combined with a seperate portion for girls,,,, banning concerts or musical shoes is insaanity,,, they can put a small fees though for aquiring permission n making proper police available, we as students handles most of the organier stuff ourselves , and i im talking abt khi were the volume and security threat is always higher

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  • Rashid
    Jan 26, 2012 - 8:36AM

    “…earn their bread and butter from live shows and concerts.”… Now, that is some high-quality bread, and deliciously-thick butter!Recommend

  • Jan 26, 2012 - 8:47AM

    @waqar:
    this means that these singers fail to attract people outside school campus. Check my complete reply to this article on my blog

    http://fazoolstuff.blogspot.com/2012/01/open-letter-to-band-of-marasees.htmlRecommend

  • KH
    Jan 26, 2012 - 8:55AM

    @Ali Noor (Noori): So he finally wakes up when it comes to principles, really.

    Where was he when decisions were being made which took away bread from the poor, but now he is the one getting deprived of bread so he comes up with principles.

    Sad…Recommend

  • Rizwana
    Jan 26, 2012 - 8:56AM

    The Alhamrah tragedy should have given impetus t. to make stringent guidelines on how to conducting concerts. But to stop everything cold turkey! Just like everything else in the country is brazenly avoiding the main focus, Instead govt. should now step forward and develop an industry that will give employment requires vision. Sadly our policies are stopping Pakistan from moving forward. We need to rally together and support our music industry that has helped generate a positive image of Pakistan, also, while developing great talent.

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  • akam
    Jan 26, 2012 - 9:03AM

    “objectional” concerts are banned. seriously! what constitutes as Objectional in the first place did the PA actually define OBJECTIONAL when it passed the resolution…..

    well anyways, i guess Objectional Political Rallies should be banned as well since in the past a number of suicide blast have occured killing lots more people then OBJECTIONAL CONCERTS

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  • positive pakistani
    Jan 26, 2012 - 9:37AM

    Noori I am with you!

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  • Raza
    Jan 26, 2012 - 9:39AM

    I cant quite believe that our leaders have time for such trivial issues. People are dying of fake medicines but they cant be bothered to take real action against that. The Al Hamra incident was a tragic accident; and precautions should be taken in future, but banning concerts is not the solution. There are precious few entertainment avenues as it is. As far as the legislature goes, There are far bigger issues. When will our assemblies stop touching upon non-issues?

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  • Ali Hasan
    Jan 26, 2012 - 9:55AM

    Once again it is worth noting that while the concert was organized by an educational institute, it was NOT held at one.

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  • Frantic
    Jan 26, 2012 - 10:32AM

    @KH:
    what an analysis…. SAD

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  • Jan 26, 2012 - 11:21AM

    What a pathetic excuse of accountability. Why not maintain law and order and proper infrastructure rather then just saying ‘No concerts!’ Recommend

  • Asad
    Jan 26, 2012 - 4:39PM

    @KH:
    That’s quite unnecessary.

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  • saadat
    Jan 26, 2012 - 6:56PM

    very good move by the punjab govt,i am very sad when there are other crises like loadshedding,gas shortage and a lot of others,they dont speak ,first build your country ,then think of these ridiculous music concerts…….????

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  • SMJ
    Jan 26, 2012 - 10:12PM

    Ban Mostaches too

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  • Maya
    Jan 26, 2012 - 10:57PM

    “About 15 years ago, there was a ban on wearing jeans and keeping long hair and this just sounds like one of those ridiculous acts”.Is it true?

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  • Pakistani in US
    Jan 26, 2012 - 11:09PM

    @saadat Entertainment is a right of every individual, and the state itself can’t take it away under the constitution. You should thank musicians for bringing positivity to Pakistan by their continued efforts and not mindlessly kill their rozi roti (since govt does nothing to support entertainment in Pakistan). For a change govt. should pay attention to the real problems that they are ELECTED to solve and not provide ridiculous impractical solutions to what they don’t understand. And for the record, there is nothing to be happy about this decision. It’s akin to being happy about someone killing your liberties.

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  • Behroz
    Jan 27, 2012 - 1:15AM

    How can you ban music and culture!? This is a disgusting decision and also completely insane. How are such people working in my country’s parliament?! We must speak out.

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  • Anam
    Jan 27, 2012 - 1:21AM

    What a brilliant move lets next ban paani, bijli and gas, Oh wait you have allready banned those to our homes, great going politicians, you will certainly bring this country to its death!

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  • Yasir Mehmood
    Jan 27, 2012 - 1:44AM

    That has hit some PTI people economically hard haha

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  • Faju
    Jan 27, 2012 - 2:33AM

    I am against this resolution, but I believe that a delegation of artists specially Atif Aslam should visit the Alhamra victims families. Its so sad that everyone is saying so much against this resolution but not even a single word for those girls. Not only politicians have a duty to visit the sorrowed family but also in this case artists should go and visit the victims families.

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  • ht312
    Feb 3, 2012 - 5:59PM

    Culture is also a part of education firstly and secondly entertainment goes side by side with education@Usman Shahid:

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  • Feb 4, 2012 - 6:49PM

    @ht312: I agree with you but how it is necessary that professional singer is must in educational institutions and why they are making it their bread and butter.

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  • ht312
    Feb 6, 2012 - 9:19AM

    @Usman Shahid:
    it’s not necessary but that’s the way it it. Its much easier to get a NOC from the police if you are a educational institution so a vast majority of the concerts are held by them. Private companies also try to hold concerts in the schools name cause its easier. Its easier cause its safer.

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