Pakistan: Threats from the Taliban sends sarod player into exile
Asad Qazalbash, Pakistan’s only accomplished sarod player, has left the country due to a declaration by the Pakistani Taliban that music is un-Islamic, wrote blogger Mohammad Shehzad on 10 August 2011.
Asad Qazalbash who was living and working as a musician in Islamabad is reported to have sought political asylum in Belgium, fearing for his life at the hands of the Taliban.
“They would knock his door and refrain him from playing sarod or he should be ready to face dire consequences. Local police could not help Asad. He stopped playing sarod – as a result he was unable to support his wife and four children. Some friends kept on providing him financial support but it was not the solution. Asad had no skills except music.
Moreover, he loved his sarod so much that could not have lived without it. The frustrated Asad was forced to take a tough decision. Fortunately, he had a Schengen visa. He went to Belgium for a concert and surrendered his passport. He has applied for political asylum,” wrote Mohammad Shehzad.
The sarod is a stringed musical instrument, used mainly in Indian classical music. Asad Qazalbash is a student of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, a legendary sarod player in India who is considered the creator of modern sarod.
Demotix, blog post by Mohammad Shehzad – 10 August 2011: