A concert banned

Authorities in Bhurban had to cancel an Eid concert that was denounced by local clerics.


Editorial August 29, 2012
A concert banned

The fight between extremism and moderation is an unequal one. On one side, you have a tiny but vocal minority that deploys threats and violence as a primary tool in the battle, while on the other side, there is the vast majority that simply wants to get on with life with minimum fuss. It is precisely this urge to avoid conflict which led authorities in Bhurban to cancel an Eid concert that was denounced by local clerics. While no one would want attending a concert to be a life-threatening experience, we have to be careful not to cross the line from caution to appeasement. By giving in to the most extremist elements in society, the government is announcing that it has no will to stand up for the rights of its citizens. Already, too many concessions have been given to those relying on mob rule to enforce their version of morality.

Although the case of Rimsha Masih, who was arrested for ‘blasphemy’, is far more worthy of outrage than the cancellation of a concert, a connection can be drawn between the two events. In both cases, the state should know better than to simply capitulate to those who seek to marginalise and threaten anyone who angers them. In both cases, authorities have erred on the side of fear. For the rest of us, silence should not be an option.

By granting religious obscurantists their every wish, we are rapidly acquiescing to the shrinking of public space. The elite will always have their parties behind closed, heavily-guarded doors, but for everyone else, there is simply no avenue for entertainment left. In public parks, we have to be careful of vigilante TV anchors demanding marriage licences. At concerts and theatres, there is worry that the content will be deemed un-Islamic and raided by vigilante mobs. The end result will be a country that is repressed, without culture and increasingly insular. This may be the Pakistan that the mullahs may want to create but it is not the Pakistan we should want to inhabit.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2012.

COMMENTS (17)

Abdullah | 11 years ago | Reply

I do not have a problem with concerts however if they mean pushing corrupt Western values, free mixing and abuse of women like in West then Pakistan do not need concerts.

Bilal | 11 years ago | Reply

I disagree on one point only, "On one side, you have a tiny but vocal minority that deploys threats and violence as a primary tool in the battle" I believe religious extremists have overrun Pakistani society.

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