Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s voice and heartwarming melodies intoxicated the audience at a much-awaited fund raiser Tuesday night, with die hard fans singing along and swaying to the music.
The evening, organised by Pakistan Youth Alliance (PYA) in collaboration with Miradore Productions, was delayed earlier due to the singer’s detention in India.
This being Rahat’s first commercial fund-raiser, the event was widely anticipated here in the capital city and went by smoothly without any ruckus.
Even though politicians and high profile people were invited, with Qamar Zaman Kaira strolling in around 11:15pm and Mahesh Bhatt making an appearance at midnight, the evening was not held up due to their late arrival and no hoopla was created about their presence.
Rahat’s voice mesmerized the audience as he started the evening with a Qawwali segment and age-old favourites including, Allah Hu, Mera Piya Ghar Aaya and Dillagi Bhool Jani Paray Gi.
The evening continued
into a submergence of Bollywood hits that got the crowd pumped up even more as they sang along
Welcoming filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt from India, Rahat sang two songs from his films post his arrival.
Sonia Altaf, a Schlumberger employee, said, “I am completely mesmerized by Rahat. I never thought I’d see him live and get to sit so up close. It was totally worth coming.”
Earlier, Zarmine Ansari presented the evening and introduced the event for the cause it represents. “You are here to witness a great musician but the great musician is here to raise funds for a very noble cause. He has given an enormous discount for the evening and it is worth mentioning.”
An established charity organisation, PYA planned the fundraiser to rebuild schools in flood-affected areas of the country. The organisation has made its name and credibility by raising around $ 1.2 million over the past five years.
After renovating a school earlier in Nowshera District, the PYA envisioned the renovation of two more schools in Kot Addu and Nowshera. In order to make their dream into a reality, the organisation got Rahat Fateh Ali Khan on board to host a grand soiree at the Serena Hotel on February 19, 2011. But the organisers incurred heavy losses due to the detention of the artist in India and his delayed arrival back to Pakistan.
Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi, president PYA, in his address to the guests gave a heart-felt and dedicated message. He added, “We are here to raise funds, but despite that, we’ve had politicians and bureaucrats asking us for favours to let them in for free. We have taken a lot from this country, but now it is time to give something back.”
Tepu Malik of Miradore Productions said, “Serena Hotel and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan have been more than generous with supporting us by subsidising their rates to a bare minimum. However, what really raised our spirits was the amount of overseas Pakistanis who sent donations for the event even though they could not make it themselves.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2011.