Pakistan: Manifestations of tolerance and acceptance of music, art and culture
On Music Freedom Day 2013 at a local hotel in Peshawar, music lovers put their voices together to ensure the freedom of artistic and musical expressions.
04 March 2013
Pakistan: The undeclared ban on playing music lingers on
Sher Alam Shinwari set out to investigate what the situation is like in Peshawar on Music Freedom Day 2013. He found stifling sounds of Pashto music amid militancy and hostility
01 March 2013
Pakistan: Popular singer gunned down in music market
A young popular singer, Ghazala Javed, was shot dead on 18 June 2012 along with her father by two unknown armed men. The motive is still unknown.
19 June 2012
Pakistan: Death sentences for dancing at a wedding party
Pakistani media is bringing confusing reports from northern Pakistan about a tribal court which allegedly handed down death penalties for dancing at a wedding party
04 June 2012
Pakistan: Artists camp reflect on aspects of intolerance and terrorism
In Peshawar, Pakistan, on 7-27 May 2012, a two week camp for international artists aims to discuss and understand the phenomenon of terror
28 March 2012
Pakistan: We want to defeat terrorism through music, says culture minister
Interview with Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Khyber Pakthunkhwa’s culture minister, who wants to reverse the policies of the former MMA government which banned musical concerts
19 March 2012
Pakistan: Four CD shops destroyed in explosion
Four music CD shops were completely destroyed after an explosion in a market in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhuwa province
12 March 2012
Music Freedom Day 2012 marked in 22 countries world-wide
Reports and documentation of Music Freedom Day 2012 which was marked on 3 March 2012 with events, concerts and radio programmes in 22 countries around the world
06 March 2012
Pakistan: Punjab Assembly bans concerts in educational institutions
On 24 January 2012 Punjab Assembly passed a resolution that bans holding of ‘objectionable’ musical concerts in educational institutions
25 January 2012
Pakistan: Music returns to some of Pakistan’s tribal areas
In parts of Pakistan’s tribal areas, music is starting to return, reported Free Speech Radio News in a well-produced radio report on 16 January 2012.
18 January 2012
Pakistan: Taliban campaign against music still in full swing
Militants bombed or torched more than a dozen music shops in the second week of November 2011 in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province and North Waziristan
16 November 2011
Pakistan: Freemuse network will document attacks on musicians
At a two day workshop held in Islamabad 12-13 November 2011 a Pakistani network was set up in support of musicians and composers at risk
15 November 2011
Pakistan: Under the censorship radar, anti-establishment songs flourish
Using humour and satire, song writers increasingly enjoy a new sense of openness and freedom of speech in Pakistan nowadays, reported Times of India
02 November 2011
Pakistan: Bomb blast destroys music and video market in Peshawar
Six people were killed and over 37 injured in a bomb explosion on 19 September 2011 that targeted a music and video CD market in Peshawar
21 September 2011
Pakistan: Broad instability spelled an end to art in Swat Valley
World Policy Institute has published an in-depth article about the development for artists in Swat Valley since 2007, written by Shaheen Buneri
14 September 2011
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
22 August 2011
Pakistan: The Taliban’s war on music has done lasting damage
It will take a long time for Swat’s musical culture to recover from the Taliban’s crackdown on music, reported Shaheen Buneri from Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
08 August 2011
Pakistan: Terror campaign by religious militants against Sufi worshippers
In the sixteenth attack on Sufi shrines in two years, Taliban suicide bombers killed 49 and injured 93 Sufi devotees while they were doing music and meditation
08 April 2011
Pakistan: Anti-music militancy increases in the north-western mountain region
The militants are targeting films and music and everything they see as obscene, and the situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is deteriorating
21 March 2011
Pakistan: CD markets bombed – once again
The bombings of CD markets in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in beginning of February 2011 suggests that militants are again threatening the entertainment industry
24 February 2011
Pakistan: Singer kidnapped by religious militants
On 26 November 2010, unidentified militants kidnapped Musharraf Bengash, a Pashtun singer from the Mir Ali area in North Waziristan. Later, a jirga negotiated his release
08 December 2010
Pakistan: Musicians and artists are returning to Swat Valley
After a military operation against the religious extremists, artists are now returning back to Swat Valley in northern Pakistan, reported The Express Tribune.
26 November 2010
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
25 October 2010
Pakistan: Fundamentalists attacked a music gathering
In the evening on 5 September 2010 a group of religious fundamentalists attacked a music gathering in Nowshera District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
06 September 2010
Book by Salman Ahmad: ‘Rock & Roll Jihad’
Rock star Salman Ahmad desribes his encounters with angry mullahs and oppressive dictators who wanted all music to be banned from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
10 February 2010
Pakistan: Five injured and 10 music shops damaged by bomb blast
Five people were injured and 10 shops damaged in a bomb blast on 28 January 2010 in a music and video market in the small town of Jand in Pakistan’s Punjab province
10 February 2010
USA: Banned music showcased in concert series in New York
A concert with the exiled Pakistani singer Haroon Bacha on 9 December 2009 marks the start of ‘Impossible Music Sessions’ in New York showcasing banned music
09 December 2009
Pakistan: Music stores are rebuilt in Swat valley
In the north-western Pakistani valley of Swat, the Taliban’s ban on all forms of artistic expression has been lifted, and culture now makes a comeback
04 November 2009
Pakistan: Marked for death by the Taliban
Interview with an exiled Pakistani singer in the US who wished to remain anonymous out of concern for the safety of his family at home in Pakistan
24 August 2009
Pakistan: Lahore feels under siege
Pakistan’s performing artists face deadly occupational hazards. Lahore’s music festival, and theatres across the city are bombed in co-ordinated overnight raids
31 July 2009
Pakistan: 800 music shops bombed over three years
“No doubt this is the most critical phase in the history of our province,” writes journalist Shaheen Buneri about the situation for artists in north-western Pakistan
09 July 2009
Pakistan: ‘Musicians are in panic’, says popular singer
Musicians, singers, and other art performers are in panic. We are all at risk, Zeek Afridi, an up-and-coming singer fromm Peshawar, told correspondents of Radio Liberty
23 June 2009
Afghanistan and Pakistan: Understanding the Taliban’s campaign against music
Ethnomusicologist John Baily and Freemuse executive director Marie Korpe speak about the Taliban’s campaign against music and musicians in Afghanistan and Pakistan
23 June 2009
Pakistan: Singer shot dead by her brothers
The popular Pashto singer Shamim Aiman Udas was murdered on 26 April 2009. According to her husband, she was killed by her own brothers
28 April 2009
Pakistan: Four men shaved as punishment for listening to music
In Buner district a young man told that Taliban militants had shaved the heads and moustaches of him and three friends for listening to music in the evening of 25 April 2009
28 April 2009
Pakistan: High Court imposes ban on ‘immoral songs’
On 27 April 2009 the Lahore High Court imposed a ban on songs by two Lahore singers, deeming them ‘indecent’ and ‘against the values of a Muslim society’
28 April 2009
Pakistan: ‘Taliban have hijacked Islam’, says Freemuse ambassador
In an article published by Washington Post, Freemuse ambassador and singer Salman Ahmad and filmmaker Karam Pasha criticise the Taliban of hijacking Islam in Pakistan
28 April 2009
Pakistan: Music has died in the Swat valley
Musical expressions are completely banned and ruthlessly discouraged in the newly founded Taliban state of Swat in north-western part of Pakistan
23 April 2009
Afghanistan: Afghan idol: ‘My life is under threat’
Lima Sahar charmed her way into the third spot of the 2008 version of the wildly popular ‘Afghan Star’ competition. Now in exile, she fears for her life
01 April 2009
Pakistan: University’s musicology department threatened by student’s organisation
The musicology department at Punjab University in Lahore has moved out of the university after a religious student group threatened with ‘dire consequences’
25 March 2009
Pakistan/USA: Salman Ahmad: Obama should listen to Pakistani artists
As the Taliban silence music in the Swat Valley in northern Pakistan, Freemuse ambassador Salman Ahmad denounces the Pakistani peace accord with the Taliban
13 March 2009
Pakistan: Harmonium player Anwar Gul murdered by militants
On 15 December 2008, a group of musicians were attacked by armed men. Two days later at a hospital in Peshawar, the harmonium player Anwar Gul died from his wounds
16 February 2009
Sardar Yousafzai
Audio interview with the popular Pashtun singer Sardar Yousafzai who on 15 December 2008 was attacked by unidentified militants
04 February 2009
Human Rights for Musicians – Impressions & Descriptions: Salman Ahmad
Testimonial by Salman Ahmad in the anniversary publication ‘Human Rights for Musicians – Ten Years With Freemuse’
30 January 2009
Gulzar Alam
Audio interview with the popular Pashtun singer Gulzar Alam who escaped an attack on his life on 16 October 2008
26 January 2009
Pakistan: Taliban kill dancer in Swat valley
Shabana, one of Pakistan’s celebrated dancers, was shot dead on 2 January 2009 after defying the Taliban’s ban on music and dance
15 January 2009
North-west Pakistan: Jihadi hymns replace music
The rapidly growing influence of the Taliban in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province has left the areas’ singers and musicians with few choices
29 December 2008
Pakistan: Musician threatened in Karachi
Musician and singer Noel Jamshaid was threatened by unidentified persons in Karachi, wrote Minorities Concern of Pakistan
08 December 2008
Pervaiz Akhtar
Pakistani musician Pervaiz Akhtar, today based in Denmark, explains (in Danish language) about his personal experiences with music censorship in Pakistan
29 October 2008
Pakistan: Death threats from the Taliban made singer flee his country
Haroon Bacha, a 36-year-old Pashtun singer, fled his homeland and is now in the US where he is doing performances, reported New York Times on 12 October 2008
20 October 2008
Pakistan: ‘The Miscreants’ – The popular culture of war in Pakistan
Documentary and fiction is mixed in this film by Australian director George Gittoes who based himself in Peshawar for six months to talk to religious leaders of the region
20 October 2008
Pakistan: Music breaks chains in North West Pakistan
The melody of Pashto music that has been in chains for the last five years has now found a way to bless the hearts of its lovers with a renewed zeal and life
21 May 2008
Pakistan: Music and militancy in the frontier (radio report)
This radio report tells about religious militants’ attacks on music centres, and the reactions from the owners of the music business in Swat Valley of North-West Pakistan.
25 February 2008
Pakistan: Musicians and singers live in danger
A complete ban on all singing and dancing has been implemented in Mingora city in northern Pakistan. The singers and dancers have been thrown out of business
13 December 2007
Pakistan: String of bomb attacks on CD shops across the northwest province
Religious militants have blown up numerous music shops in the northwest region. On 9 October in Peshawar a bomb blast damaged almost all 40 shops in Hussain CD market
11 October 2007
Pakistan: Attack on hotel where music was played
Dozens of local Taliban extremists attacked and ransacked a hotel in Mingora in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, because people were dancing and playing music there
18 September 2007
Pakistan: Taliban group issues new ban on sale of music
If you sell music CDs and cassettes in Zargari and other areas in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, you will now be fined 50,000 rupees
23 August 2007
Pakistan: Religious music prohibition discussed in popular movie
Feature film about a musician who gets inspired by a cleric to give up music for religious reasons became Pakistan’s highest grossing movie of all time
06 August 2007
Pakistan: Religious extremists destroyed 25 music shops
In June 2007 alone, there were more than 20 bomb attacks on music shops in north-west Pakistan. On 4 July, five more music shops were set ablaze with petrol
04 July 2007
Freemuse: Religious fanatics a threat to music
Freemuse presentation at the IASPM conference for popular music researchers from the whole world – in 2007 held in Mexico City
27 June 2007
Afghanistan: Music download shop attacked, two killed
Two people were killed and several wounded by a bomb that exploded in a music download shop in Afghanistan’s south-eastern town of Khost on 22 April 2007
09 May 2007
Pakistan: Intensified campaign against music
Religious militants in north-western Pakistan continue violent attacks on property belonging to people who sell or listen to music
08 May 2007
Pakistan: Music business faces serious threats in North West Pakistan
1,200 owners of music centres have been warned by Islamic hardliners to close down, and on 21 April 2007, three more video and music shops were blown up by a bomb
23 April 2007
Pakistan: Religious extremists request radio to stop its music programmes
Dera Radio was asked by unknown callers to stop it’s music programmes because they are “un-Islamic” and “against shariate”
18 April 2007
Pakistan: Music CDs burned in the streets of Islamabad
Emotionally charged religious youth screamed slogans against perceived immorality as they burned a pile of music CDs and cassettes in Pakistan’s capital on 6 May 2007
08 April 2007
Pakistan: Fear and persecution follows Afghan musicians
The fear and persecution which forced Afghan singers to leave their country now has followed them to their exile in Peshawar in Pakistan
04 April 2007
Pakistan: Islamic music prohibition discussed on Danish tv
‘Our prophet was born to do away with music’, a mullah from Pakistan’s second-largest mosque was quoted as saying on the Danish tv-channel DR1 on 18 March 2007
19 March 2007
Pakistan: Extremists kill one, injure two in music shop attacks
Extremist religious groups intensify their campaign against all forms of entertainment in north-west Pakistan. Attacks on music centres left one killed and two seriously injured
18 March 2007
Pakistan: Music and video shop blown away
“Close within three days – or you will be blown away.” This threat by the religious extremists became reality when a video centre was blown away on 13 March 2007
15 March 2007
Pakistan: Music centres threatened by religious extremists
A campaign launched by a religious leader against listening to music has taken a dangerous turn in Swat Valley of North-West Frontier Province, reports our correspondent
10 March 2007
Pakistan: Fine for playing music in taxi, music shop attacked
The Taliban in Pakistan’s in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan are imposing a fine of 500 rupees for any one playing music in public, reports several news agencies
03 March 2007
Pakistan: Bus drivers threatened not to play music
An organisation called Mujahideen Bajaur has warned public transport drivers in Bajaur region to stop the “un-Islamic act” of playing music in buses
28 February 2007
Pakistan: Music video about 9/11 censored
The Pakistani-Canadian rock group Falak has been blacklisted on MTV Pakistan. Their song ‘Yadein II’ is deemed too controversial because of its 9/11 images
21 February 2007
Denmark: Focus on arguments against religious music prohibition
Salman Ahmad visited Copenhagen in February 2007 to introduce the screening of the documentary film, ‘The Rock Star and the Mullahs’
15 February 2007
Three films about music and Islam hit Scandinavia
Pakistani rock star Salman Ahmad and editor Simon Broughton visit Denmark and Sweden in February 2007 to show three documentary films about music and Islam
24 January 2007 Focus on artists from the Middle East
Watch the new video interviews on recorded during the ‘Images of the Middle East’ festival which took place in Denmark in August-September 2006
30 October 2006
Pakistan: Call for music centres to be closed
MMA’s member of North-West Frontier Province Assembly Zakir Shah has called for a complete closure of music centres during the holy month of Ramzan
26 September 2006
USA: Banned Musician speaks at Clinton Global Initiative
Pakistani rockstar Salman Ahmad has been invited to speak at former US president Bill Clintons Global Initiative panel in New York on 21 September 2006
14 September 2006
Pakistan: Students protest against music classes
Student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami intensifies protest campaign
13 September 2006
Pakistan: Two more music shops bombed
Bombs damaged two music shops in a bazaar in Bannu in north-western Pakistan on 11 September 2006. Explosions damaging music shops are increasingly shaking up the area.
13 September 2006
Pakistan: Renewed ban on audio cassettes
Local Taliban and religious leaders in North Waziristan on 11 June 2006 issued public notices that they will punish people listening to “un-Islamic” music
15 June 2006
Pakistan: Music banned in Pakistani province
In May 2006 a pro-Taliban militant cleric announced a ban on music and video shops in the Hamuzai area near Miramshah, residents said, according to the Pakistani newspaper, Dawn
18 May 2006
Pakistan: Ban on dance and music in schools
A ban has been imposed on social functions featuring dance and music, particularly Indian songs, in educational institutions, reports Daily Times
24 April 2006
Pakistan: Explosion destroys music shops
Suspected Islamic militants planted explosive material near a music shop in the center of the bazaar in Tanak district of North-West Frontier Province in Pakistan
26 January 2006
Pakistan: Festival defying Islamic hardliners
The 10-day Lahore festival is defying Islamic hardliners but delighting the country’s president with a vision of a very different Pakistan
02 December 2005
Salman Ahmad
Video interview with ex-Junoon member Salman Ahmad about music prohibition among Islamists, and about music censorship in Pakistan
22 November 2005
Pakistan: Pro-Taliban strikes against music shops
Music shops ordered to close down – threatened with bombs and violence
08 August 2005
Faiz Ali Faiz
Interview with qawwali master singer Faiz Ali Faiz from Pakistan
01 August 2005
Previously banned music now flyes off the shelves in Pakistan
Two young boys who had to play in secret because their music was banned by Pakistani fundamentalists, now are selling thousands of albums…
28 January 2005
Pakistan: Two South Indian dance teachers stand up to ban
For the past 53 years, Indu and Tehreema Mitha have been doing the impossible in Pakistan: teaching South Indian dance to Muslim girls in a country where Islamic clergymen will not allow girls to dance
05 December 2004
Pakistan: Grenade kills four listening to music at wedding party
Grenade thrown into a wedding ceremony at Peshwar, killing four and injuring 35 people. The guests were listening to music
15 October 2004
Clerics condemn Kashmir pop song
Religious leaders in Kashmir have sought a ban on a pop song by two Pakistani singers. A line in the song, Kachi Pencil (Fragile Pencil), says God has written the fate of man with a fragile pencil
03 August 2004
Freedom of Expression Awards 2004
The Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards 2004 took place on 22 March. The Music Award went to Daniel Barenboim & Edward Said. The other nominees were Gorki Luis Águila Carrasco (Cuba), Junoon (Pakistan), and Ferhat Tunc (Turkey)
24 March 2004
Pakistan: The censored meet the censor
In the BBC4 programme “The Rock Star and the Mullah”, Salman Ahmad, guitarist with Pakistani rock group Junoon, meet the men who banned music
18 December 2003
Music provoke islamists on Pakistan campuses
A film student at Pakistan’s biggest university in Karachi, produced a music video for his final-year project. But right-wing Islamic students opposed to holding art shows on campus attacked the student’s exhibition and smashed the computer he had planned to use to screen it
27 November 2003
Musicians claim police harassment
Pakistani musicians living near the country’s border with Afghanistan have complained they are being harassed by hardliners attempting to stamp out music and movies
08 April 2003
Audio interview with Junoon (Pakistan). Recorded in 2000
01 January 2001