Popular singer gunned down in music market
A young singer, Ghazala Javed, was shot dead on 18 June 2012 along with her father by two unknown armed men
The incident happened in the busy Mohallah Nau of Dabgari Garden in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, where the singer was on her way to a musical show from a beauty parlor.
“Two men on a motorbike sprayed bullets and fled, leaving them in a pool of blood,” senior police officer Dilawar Bangash told the news agency AFP. Ghazala Javed received six bullets in her chest, stomach and other parts. Her father was shot in the head. Both were dead before reaching the nearest hospital.
Warning for lovers of music
Dabgari was once a popular market for musicians, a safe haven for singers, dancers, musicians, and artists, who for many years had lived peacefully in the district, until five religious parties, the MMA coalition, came to power in the region in 2002. They stopped singers, dancers, and musicians from performing at the popular Nishtar Hall, and forced artists and their families living in the congested Dabgari Garden locality to either leave the area or stop practicing the profession they had pursued for decades.
Ghazala Javed was seen as the leader of a resurgence of female singers in the province after a period of Taliban intimidation against musicians and dancers. She was nominated for a Filmfare Award in 2010 and received a Khyber Award in 2011.
Javed sung in her native Pashto language and released more than two dozen albums that were popular among Pashto speakers in the northwest of Pakistan.
She married businessman Jahangir Khan in 2010, but demanded a divorce after finding out he had another wife and because he objected to her singing. He tried to ban her from singing, her family was quoted as saying.
Police reportedly regard her ex-husband a prime suspect in the case, however Police is still investigating to find out whether the incident could be related to terrorism of the Taliban.
In recent years, several singers and musicians in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province have been gunned down by the local Taliban, who have declared music ‘un-Islamic’, and musicians have fled the northwest region after receiving threats from the militants.
Their protest has been published in print and electronic media to show solidarity to the fight against terrorism in the arts world. “We are determined to continue our work and not to give up,” wrote Arshad Hussain.
Takhleeq Development Foundation currently prepares to call to a press conference and a protest walk to mobilise the artists community in the region in order to “build pressure that can ensure that the culprits are arrested and brought to the court of justice.”
A couple of years ago, another popular woman singer, Ayman Udas, was killed in a similar way when her brother knocked at her door one morning in Peshawar and shot her several times as soon as she opened the gate to see who was outside.
Dawn / AFP – 19 June 2012:
The News – 19 June 2012:
Rawnaq News (in Farsi language):
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty – 19 June 2012:
Al Jazeera, video report from Peshawar – 28 May 2012:
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