KARACHI: In the wake of qawwal Amjad Sabri’s assassination, there were few in the country that did not come out and speak up on the dire security situation. Amid the condemnations, demands for justice and tributes, a group of artists has been having a field day at the expense of Sabri’s followers.
Led by Sindh censors boss Fakhr-e-Alam, the group that includes both small-timers and mainstream artists, has demanded security equal to that of government officials. Few others, who have not featured in the video, lent their support sharing it on their Facebook pages and taking a similar stance otherwise.
Apart from that, more than 50 members of the entertainment industry submitted an application at Defence police station on Friday night, requesting security for artists.
This did not go down well with Moor director Jami who criticised the fraternity for taking a rather selfish stance on the matter. Talking to The Express Tribune, the outspoken film-maker elaborated, shooting down the entire charter of demands.
“Artists should have [also] demanded security for the Hazara community in Quetta. No one cared about dead kids freezing on the roads,” Jami said.
“Why are we only demanding security for ourselves as if artists are a special breed? Why not for every Pakistani … be it a Hindu or a Christian.”
Jami is known as being vocal about human rights issues on social media and also getting flack for it. In this scenario, does Jami have a better way of responding to the crisis as an artist himself? “I think the artist community should have gone outside like true activists and asked their fans and followers to join hands,” he said.
Jami believes that artists should be equally concerned about the problems faced by minorities, in case they want to make things work for Pakistan. “They made it into a self-protection issue.
Every artist, and art at large, has the potential to bring about a revolution but we clearly missed the opportunity. Twenty artists getting together, demanding security is a very selfish act.”
Although the motive behind the killing of Sabri is still not clear, one cannot deny the fact that he was a very popular artist. The entertainment industry being considered about its security seems like a natural response. “They have the right to say whatever they like but they should have looked at the bigger picture,” said Jami.
The popular film-maker, whose music videos and feature films are drenched in patriotism, is of the opinion that local artists seem to have forgotten their role in the society. He thinks, only a handful of them can be counted as part of the civil society at large.
“I’ve been to almost all protests and I only saw a few of us there. I wish we had a huge concert organised in support of the issue of Hazara killings, an anti-Lashkar-e-Jhangvi performance or I could see artists highlighting evils of karo kari, underage marriages, the way they have highlighted their personal problem.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2016.