Amid rising tensions between India and Pakistan following the attack in Kashmir, Pakistani artistes are now suffering the consequences across the border. Relations between the two countries is in turbulent waters after India’s army base in Uri was attacked killing 18 of their soldiers.
Indian Express reported that Pakistani singers Shafaqat Amanat Ali, who was set to perform in Bengaluru on September 30th, and Atif Aslam, who had a concert scheduled in Gurgaon on Oct 15th, will not be performing in India as their events have been cancelled.
“We decided to cancel the concert of Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali. We took this decision in the aftermath of Uri attacks,” Radio Mirchi Group Manager (Sales) Srinivas said.
Although the classical singer was set to perform on Friday, the decision had been passed on much earlier, citing public safety and security concerns. “The concert was cancelled on September 20th, much before the saffron parties raised the issue, demanding cancellation of the event. In fact, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad raised the issue recently, a few days back,” he said.
The militant Hindu organisation Barjrang Dal and Indian right-wing Hindu nationalist party Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) had been opposing Shafqat’s concert since the Uri attack.
“Everyone knows what Pakistan is. Everyday it is killing many (Indian) soldiers. The world is on the verge of declaring Pakistan as a terrorist state. Such being the case, what is the necessity for inviting a Pakistani singer here,” said Bajrang Dal Karnataka unit President Suryanarayan.
Similarly, organisers of Atif Aslam’s concert were ‘advised’ by the Gurgaon administration to ‘defer’ the concert after member of Hindu group Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Kranti Dal met with Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner and asked him to cancel the event.
The letter handed to the Deputy Commissioner read: “If the event takes place, and any incident happens because of it, the district administration will be responsible”.
“Gurgaon district administration plays with the sentiments of the country by giving Pakistani artists permission to perform here. On the one hand, soldiers are losing their lives at the border because of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, and on the other, the district administration… is inviting them here as guests,” it stated.
Following which the district administration released a statement to the concert officials stating, “Considering the sentiments of armed forces/soldiers at the frontier, the organisers are advised by the district administration, Gurgaon, to defer the Atif Aslam concert.”
In light of the issue the Deputy Commissioner said, “We are just issuing an advisory to the organisers that since sentiments of the armed forces are concerned, they should defer the concert. There are chances of public protest or incidents like shoe-hurling. But if they (organisers) want to go ahead with the concert, we have to provide security, but half-heartedly.”
However, The Hindu reports that the organisers had decided to cancel the event indefinitely after the Uri attack.
Pakistani artistes find themselves in trouble following the friction between the two countries over Kashmir. Some in India have started opposing the work of Pakistan artistes in their country such as nationalist party Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) which seeks to eliminate the presence of Pakistani talent in India.
Earlier, Fawad Khan was asked to leave the country in an open letter by an Indian journalist for not showing solidarity to the victims of the Uri attack. However, many from Bollywood have extended their support towards Pakistani artistes working in India, stating that the issue lied with the governments of the two countries, not people in the performing arts.