Music has died in the Swat valley
Musical expressions are completely banned and ruthlessly discouraged in the newly founded Taliban state of Swat in the north-western part of Pakistan. Hundreds of singers, musicians and women dancers have fled for other provinces.
By Khushal Yousafzai, Freemuse’s correspondent in Mingora
The few singers and musicians who remain in the area have shunned their music business and publically announced that from now onwards they will never indulge in the “un-Islamic” practice of singing. Taliban threats have forced popular singers such as Nazia Iqbal, Gulrez Tabbasum, Gulzar Alam and Shehensha Bacha to publically denounce music and join “Tablighi Jumat”, an Islamic movement that spreads Islamic teachings in different parts of Pakistan and internationally.
Samin Khan, a young singer from Kabal area of Swat district, told Freemuse that the district administration supports Taliban in their campaign against music: “The DCO (District Coordination Officer) clearly stated that music is prohibited in Islam and he would never tolerate obscenity and vulgarity on the pretext of singing and dancing”, Samin Khan said.After one and half year fighting between militants affiliated with Maulana Fazlullah and Pakistan security forces, the social and cultural identity of the Swat valley has completely disfigured.
500 music shops closed
At the same time, CDs and DVDs showing Taliban style ‘justice’ are available in every nook and corner of the district. “People who earlier dealt in music CDs and videos are now selling Jihadi CDs”, says Sher Ali Shah, an NGO worker in Mingora.
These Jihadi CDs are produced in the Al-Fatih production house of Taliban with latest audio-video equipment and then distributed in the whole region.
Campaign against music
On 19 April, while addressing a large gathering, Maulana Sufi Muhammad, chief of the banned Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (Movement for the enforcement of Muhammadan Law) said that after 20 years of struggle his movement had succeeded to implement pure Islamic law in Malakand.
“Now we will focus on other areas and will bring every sphere of life under the injunctions of Islam,” he maintained.In Maulana Sufi Muhammad‘s interpretation of Islam, music is strictly prohibited and source of all sins, and it is expected that the Taliban will now further intensify their campaign against music and singers.
Transforming cultural values
Nazia Iqbal, a popular Pashto singer who has now joined Tablighi Jumat.
Photo by Majeed Babar
|Read more on the internet
Google News – continously updated:
Search: ‘Taliban’ + ‘music’ + ‘Swat’
The Atheist News – 8 March 2009:
‘Taliban eradicates music from Swat valley’
IBN Live – 6 March 2009:
‘Taliban in, music and revelry out of picturesque Swat’
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