Pakistan: Music school closed after threats from extremists
A group of religious extremists threatened Asad Qazilbash, a renowned sarood player in Islamabad, to stop giving lessons and remove the signboard for his music school.
Asad Qazilbash was shell-shocked when he learned that his 12-year-old son, while playing in the street with his friends, had been approached by a group of young men wearing shalwar-kameez and turbans on their heads who told the boy to go home and tell his father to immediately remove the signboard which was displayed in front of his house announcing a launch of classes for those interested in learning music, and also that he should stop teaching music.
Asad Qazilbash has just started giving music classes at his house for those who are interested in learning the art, and he had a small board painted with different musical instruments on it, which he displayed outside his house.
After a second warning a few days later, he removed the board.
“I not only removed the board, but also stopped music classes for the time-being. But I am worried about the safety of my children because it is not possible for me to keep them in the house all the time. They have to go out and play with their friends,” Asad Qazilbash told Shakeel Anjum who wrote the article about the incidents in the Pakistani newspaper The News.
Feared a backlash The musician didn’t want to report the matter to the Islamabad Police because he feared a backlash from members of the extremist group.
“Police may not be able to give me protection, as these people seem to be capable of doing whatever they have threatened my son of,” Asad Qazilbash had told Shakeel Anjum.
Inspector General of Police, Syed Kaleem Imam, when contacted by the journalist for his comments, said that strict action would be taken against those involved in the case. He also said that police would take all necessary measures to counter such trend and to protect the noted musician and his school.
Shakeel Anjum in the Pakistani newspaper The News – 20 October 2010: