“Shave my head, paint my face black; Mount me on a donkey and make fun of me.”
Either militants didn’t take kindly to Nisar Khan’s comedic song referring to an incident where Taliban insurgents seized thieves, shaved their heads and mounted them on donkeys; or they took it a bit too seriously.
Nisar, a comedian, was kidnapped by militants mid-show in Peshawar’s suburban town of Matani on Monday, telling the shocked audience that they ‘needed an entertainer urgently’.
He was entertaining guests at a wedding party when around 20 militants entered the hujra where he was performing and abducted him, residents said. The event was taking place near a police check-point.
“The militants took Nisar away, saying they too needed an entertainer on an urgent basis,” a resident told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity. “They told people not to panic and that Nisar is being taken away only for a few days. They said he will not be harmed.”
According to locals, Nisar often performs at weddings and social events and regularly makes militants and banned outfit Lashkar-e-Islam the butt of his jokes. They believed that it was for this reason that he had been picked up.
However, they said, Nisar had been kidnapped by militants last year as well and released a week later. This time too, they said, they expected the same. Locals ruefully pointed out that despite a nearby police check-point and several check-points of the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary force, no one took note of armed men entering the area and then fleeing.
The serious side of Nisar Khan
Although Nisar is known for his humour, his songs are grave and portray the despondent situation in the area.
“There was a festival in the village on Sunday; People were joyful and merry; Suddenly, there occurred a loud blast; Our favourite nazim Abdul Malik was dead; The merry and happy crowd became mournful; My beloved province has been set on fire; O my ye as brisk as butterfly; O ye as fierce as a tiger; My enemy, your heart is black as coal; We would remember thy cruelty! My friend has two sons; one polite, the other cruel; One vigilant, the other not,” says the lyrics of one of his popular songs.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2012.