LAHORE: Artistes, singers and writers have announced they will move the Supreme Court if the government decides to go ahead with a proposal requiring them to obtain a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) for visiting India.
This was stated at a joint press conference at Lahore Press Club on Friday in response to Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s recent statement before the National Assembly that artistes, government employees, journalists and students on scholarships would be required to obtain an NOC from the government before visiting India or any other country.
Ajoka theatre head Madeeha Gahuar said Malik’s announcement brought back memories of the Zia era. She said the move violated the fundamental rights of citizens. “We are discussing the issue with senior lawyers of the Supreme Court,” she said. “Now we will have to get an NOC even if we want to go on a peace building mission.”
Actor and director Salman Shahid asked why politicians weren’t ever asked for an NOC since they always seemed to escape the country after being declared absconders in corruption cases. He said the decision made no sense and should be withdrawn immediately.
Former Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) director general Naeem Tahir said the government hadn’t learned anything from the episode of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s arrest at New Delhi airport. He said he was disappointed to see a Pakistan Peoples Party-led government deciding to impose such restrictions.
Singer Ali Noor said while no concerts were being held in the country many signers had planned trips to India. The announcement, he said, would prove a fatal blow for the music industry.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2011.
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