• Pakistan: Police ban music at weddings in village

    Police in the village of Mattani, a suburb of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province capital Peshawar in northern Pakistan, have banned all music from wedding ceremonies, reported Pakistan’s Express Tribune on 13 March 2017. A local villager told the newspaper that police are not only stopping events, raiding homes that host such banned events, and arresting […]
  • Pakistan: Singer interrupts show to rescue woman from harassment

    Pakistani singer and actor Atif Aslam briefly stopped his concert in Karachi on 14 January 2017 to rescue a female audience member who was being harassed by having security staff pull her up on stage and finding her a safer place to enjoy the show, reported Hindustan Times on 16 January 2017. Aslaf issued a […]
  • Pakistan: Scores killed during devotional activities at Sufi shrine

    At least 88 people have been killed, and hundreds more injured, on 16 February 2017 after a suicide bomber detonated a bomb at a crowded Sufi shrine in Sehwan, a town in the southern province in Sindh, reported The Guardian on 17 February 2017. “The explosion took place when a large number of people were […]
  • Pakistan: Two suspects arrested over musician’s murder

    Two men suspected of killing Amjad Sabri, one of Pakistan’s most famous singers, among other high-profile killings, were arrested by police as part of a city-wide crackdown in Karachi that netted dozens of arrests after a spate of sectarian shootings that left five dead in late October, reported Reuters on 7 November 2016. Sindh province […]
  • Pakistan: Music returns to region amid scepticism

    The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the north-western region of Pakistan, announced a fund to support 500 artists, including musicians, in the area by giving them $300 USD per month to create and practice their art, reported Al Jazeera on 27 May 2016. Apart from the fund, the government is also planning on spending $5 […]
  • Pakistan: The war on living arts in Swat

    Who is protecting and supporting the living arts after a conflict? A new report reveals how artistic life and the cultural industry is still suffering immensely after the Taliban were ousted from the Swat Valley in Pakistan more than seven years ago. A new report on the effects of war and repression of musicians, performers […]
  • Pakistan: Famed Sufi singer killed in drive-by shooting

    Freemuse calls for counter narratives to religious extremism On 22 June 2016, one of Pakistan’s most famous singers Amjad Sabri died in the port town of Karachi after two gunmen on a motorbike shot the singer in his car just a kilometre after leaving his home. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the killing, reported […]
  • Music Freedom Day in Pakistan: Call for cultural policy

    Participants gathered with great enthusiasm across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata to celebrate the annual Music Freedom Day, calling on their leaders to formulate a comprehensive cultural policy, reported Sher Alam Shinwari from the city of Peshawar on 3 March 2016. By Sher Alam Shinwari Senior artists, singers and writers at a function demanded of the […]
  • Pakistan: DJs and singers silenced with new loudspeaker regulation

    In the Punjab province in Pakistan, DJs, singers and show organisers are threatening to launch province-wide protest if Police continues to register cases against them while seizing their music equipment and loudspeaker systems because of a new legislation, the ‘Punjab Sound System Regulation Ordinance 2015’. The Punjab Government enforced the ‘Punjab Sound System Regulation Ordinance […]
  • Pakistan: Drummer and performer killed by armed men

    In Swabi in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, two people were killed in a violent attack in the middle of the night when a group of transgender dancers and musicians was returning home after performing a show at a wedding party. The attackers were waiting for the musicians and dancers in a field and tried to abduct […]
  • Pakistan: Artists and singers need safety, not a Censorship Act

    The local government of Pakistan’s northwest province wants to impose a Censorship Board Act to silence singers’ voices and curb artists’ activities, reports Sher Alam Shinwari from Peshawar By Sher Alam Shinwari The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the northwest province of Pakistan, has recently tabled a bill in the provincial assembly […]
  • Pakistan: Music shops disappeared as result of war on music

    Around 95 per cent of all music shops disappeared as result of war on music in Swat Valley. There was a time when Swat Valley in Northern Pakistan was described as the ‘Switzerland’ of the British Empire. Today the beautiful valley is under threat of the Taliban. The valley became globally known for the murderous […]
  • Pakistan: 26 years prison verdict for playing religious song while staging mock marriage

    The editor-in-chief of Geo TV, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, actor Veena Malik, her husband Asad Bashir Khan and tv-host Dr Shaista Lodhi Wahidi have been sentenced to 26 years in prison for an allegedly blasphemous tv-programme with a religious song, reported The Hindu, The News and Rural Media Network Pakistan. Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman (sometimes also spelled: Mir Shakeel […]
  • Pakistan: Women musicians speak out about ‘the gender challenge’

    In Pakistan today, women often find themselves unable to pursue music careers because of conservative family attitudes, political insecurity, and gender inequality. But certainly not all women, learned Sabrina Toppa, when she set out to investigate how the country’s ‘gender challenge’ affects musicians. Young, independent women are making a difference and a space for themselves […]
  • Pakistan: Rock guitarist keeps music scene alive despite state-wide fear and censorship

    Pakistan is internationally known for its state-sponsored censorship and terrorists’ attacks on musicians and music shops. But in the capital, the music scene is in a fast transition. Meet Islamabad’s maestro guitarist Zeejah Fazli who works hard to help fix Pakistan’s broken and battered music industry. By Annie Zaman with additional reporting by Sahar Ghazi […]
  • Pakistan: Ban of social media has great impact on musicians

    As Pakistan continues to restrict access to social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, activist band Laal discusses the silencing effect that these bans have on artists, and speaks to the future of free expression. By Anushe Noor Faheem, with additional reporting by Annie Zaman Still from Laal’s video for the song ‘Inqalab’ – […]
  • Pakistan: Pashto singer Gulnaz killed by four gunmen

    » Dawn / AFP – 19 June 2014: Pashto singer Gulnaz shot dead in Peshawar Pashto singer Gulnaz alias Muskan was killed in the Gulburg area of Peshawar Cantt. Police said unidentified gunmen entered the house of Gulnaz also known as Muskan and shot her dead. » Samaa – 19 June 2014: Pashto singer Gulnaz […]
  • Report: Religious extremism disastrous to music in Pakistan

    Since 2001, 12 women have been reportedly killed because of their direct involvement in music in North Western Pakistan. Approximately 600 musicians suffered due to the closure of Dabgari Bazar during the MMA government. Around 50 Sufi shrines have been reportedly attacked and an estimated 150 attacks on CD shops and music centres have left […]
  • Pakistan: Voiceless singers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cry for security

    Black curtains have fallen on Pashto cinema in KP as militants have speeded up their attacks. Musicians are receiving death threats, being kidnapped and forced to leave their homes. Local government hopes a new cultural policy can change the desperate situation for artists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. By Sher Alam Shinwari, reporting for Freemuse from Peshawar […]
  • Pakistan: The day the music died in Karachi

    This article describes a presentation by Pakistani architect and planner, activist, teacher, social researcher and writer Arif Hasan who spoke at the first international Karachi conference about “The day the music died in Karachi”. Historian and architect Arif Hasan’s cross-sector approach to the Pakistani history is interesting. He talks about the stories which the citizens […]
  • Freemuse speaks at Human Rights Council

    On 3 June 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland, Freemuse made its first oral statement in the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. Commenting on the newly launched UN report on artistic freedom and creativity, Freemuse Programme Manager Ole Reitov said: “The problems faced by artists are well described. Your analysis of the negative effects on […]
  • Pakistan: Popular singer gunned down in music market

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: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 […]
  • Pakistan: The undeclared ban on playing music lingers on

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:The undeclared ban on playing music lingers on During the last decade, Pashto music has lost artists and singers of high repute. Some have preferred to seek political asylum in the foreign countries. Many are living a miserable life. Receiving threats from militants has become a routine matter. But have things improved lately? […]
  • Pakistan: Manifestations of tolerance and acceptance of music, art and culture

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Manifestation 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. The participants boldly condemned militancy and extremism in all its forms. Also, at the Peshawar Press Club, […]
  • Music Freedom Day 2012 marked in 22 countries world-wide

    MUSIC FREEDOM DAY 2012 ##PagePublishedLong## New record:Music Freedom Day 2012 was marked in 22 countries world-wide From Brooklyn to Cairo and Kabul – musicians and artists in 22 countries that used the annual Music Freedom Day as an opportunity to highlight why the musical freedom of speech is important. In Cairo, Ramy Essam, known as […]
  • Pakistan: Four CD shops destroyed in explosion

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Four CD shops destroyed in explosion Four music shops were completely destroyed after an explosion in a market in the Takhtbhai district situated in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhuwa province, reported Pakistan Press Foundation via IFEX, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange. 21 other businesses were partially damaged along with the four CD shops. The […]
  • Pakistan: We want to defeat terrorism through music, says culture minister

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: We want to defeat terrorism through music, says culture minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Khyber Pakthunkhwa’s culture minister, told Inter Press Service in an interview that his government wants to reverse the policies of the former MMA government which banned musical concerts. “We want to defeat terrorism through music and art,” the minister […]
  • Pakistan: Artists camp reflect on aspects of intolerance and terrorism

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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. The camp is entitled ‘Face Off’. The camp and its workshops will include multidisciplinary artist from USA, United Kingdom, France, […]
  • Pakistan: Death sentences for dancing at a wedding party

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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 penalty to four women and two men for dancing at a wedding party. Rumours said the four women from Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhunkhwa were shot […]
  • Pakistan: Freemuse network will document attacks on musicians

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Freemuse network will document attacks on musicians At a two day workshop held in Islamabad 12-13 November a Pakistani network was set up in support of musicians and composers at risk. During the past years several artists have been abducted, killed and persecuted in Pakistan. Hundreds of CD shops have been bombed, […]
  • Pakistan: Taliban campaign against music still in full swing

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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 the Swabi district of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province and the city of Miramshah in North Waziristan, according to numerous reports, wrote Majeed Babar for Radio Free Europe […]
  • Pakistan: Under the censorship radar, anti-establishment songs flourish

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## 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 on 1 November 2011: “In a country racked by terrorist violence and extreme disillusionment with the state, humour and satire not only […]
  • Pakistan: Music returns to some of Pakistan’s tribal areas

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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 radio report on 16 January 2012. The music starts, and young boys begin to clap and dance. After four years without music, people are enthusiastic and […]
  • Pakistan: Punjab Assembly bans concerts in educational institutions

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Punjab Assembly bans concerts in educational institutions On 24 January 2012 the Punjab Assembly in Lahore passed a resolution that bans holding of ‘objectionable’ musical concerts in all public and private educational institutions of the province with 90 million people. This move came two weeks after three students were killed in a stampede […]
  • Pakistan: Threats from the Taliban sends sarod player into exile

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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 […]
  • Pakistan: CD markets bombed – once again

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: CD markets bombed — once again The bombings of CD markets in Chato Chowk Mardan and Umarzai Charsadda in beginning of February 2011 suggests that militants are once again threatening the entertainment industry in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province as well as elsewhere in Pakistan, reported Central Asia Online. A 2007-2008 wave of CD […]
  • Pakistan: Broad instability spelled an end to art in Swat Valley

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Broad instability spelled an end to art in Swat Valley In-depth article about the development for artists in Swat Valley since 2007, written by Shaheen Buneri, a journalist working for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty’s Mashaal Radio in Prague, Czech Republic. Three excerpts: The changes began in July 2007 when Maulana Fazlullah, […]
  • Pakistan: Bomb blast destroys music and video market in Peshawar

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Bomb blast destroys music and video market in Peshawar Six people were killed and over 37 injured in a bomb explosion on Monday 19 September 2011 that targeted a music and video CD market in Peshawar, reported Pakistan Press Foundation and other news agencies. After a couple of years where the terrorists […]
  • Pakistan: The Taliban’s war on music has done lasting damage

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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 on 3 August 2011. The Swat Valley was once the only place in Pakistan’s Pashtun […]
  • Pakistan: Fundamentalists attacked a music gathering

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Fundamentalists attacked a music gathering Freemuse has received a report that in the evening on 5 September 2010 a group of religious fundamentalists attacked a music gathering in Nowshera District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The group took some singers hostage for few hours. The singers were there to perform and collect donations for […]
  • Pakistan: Music school closed after threats from extremists

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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, […]
  • Pakistan: Musicians and artists are returning to Swat Valley

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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. Fazal Khaliq wrote for The Express Tribune: “The Swat valley, once famous site for shooting local Pashto dramas and video songs, […]
  • Pakistan: Singer kidnapped by religious militants

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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, reported Shaheen Buneri from Radio Mashaal. Musharraf Bengash sings mainly of rural themes, with his music embodying a nationalistic zeal. Shaheen […]
  • Pakistan: Anti-music militancy increases in the north-western mountain region

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Anti-music militancy increases in north-western mountain area Militants groups are targeting music, films and everything else they see as obscene, and the situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (previously known as the North-West Frontier Province) is deteriorating, reported Hanan Habibzai from Peshawar on 11 March 2011. Music shops in Peshawar are struggling to stay […]
  • Pakistan: Terror campaign by religious militants against Sufi worshippers

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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 at a shrine where they were celebrating the anniversary of its founder’s death with music and meditation. Sufi Muslim devotees are condemned as ‘un-Islamic’ […]
  • Pakistan: Five injured and 10 music shops damaged by bomb blast

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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 Attock District of Pakistan’s Punjab province. According to press reports, some construction workers […]
  • Book by Salman Ahmad: ‘Rock & Roll Jihad’

    BOOKS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan / USA:Salman Ahmad: ‘Rock & Roll Jihad – A Muslim Rock Star’s Revolution’ Salman Ahmad was lead singer and guitarist in the Pakistani rock band Junoon, one of the most popular rock groups in South Asia with 30 million record sales. In his book ‘Rock & Roll Jihad’ he desribes his encounters with […]
  • Pakistan: ‘Musicians are in panic’, says popular singer

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: ‘Musicians are in panic’, says popular singer “Colleagues, including musicians, singers, and other art performers, are in panic. We are all at risk,” ‘Zeek’ Afridi, an up-and-coming singer from Pakistan’s embattled city of Peshawar, told correspondents of Radio Liberty. Zeek often receives threats via SMS from the Taliban, reported Kristin Deasy and […]
  • Pakistan: 800 music shops bombed over three years

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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 in north-western Pakistan where he is based. “The singers and muscians are living a hard life, and most of them are displaced from their homes. […]
  • Pakistan: Lahore feels under siege

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Lahore feels under siege Pakistan’s performing artists face deadly occupational hazards. In Lahore, the city’s music festival was bombed, and cafés and theatres are bombed in co-ordinated overnight raids, BBC News’ David Loyn reported on 27 July 2009 “Pakistan feels like a country on a hinge of history. This year for the first […]
  • Pakistan: University’s musicology department threatened by student’s organisation

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:University’s musicology department threatened by student’s organisation The musicology department at the National College of Arts at Punjab University in Lahore has moved out of the university after threats with ‘dire consequences’, reported Newsline. Head of the musicology department at the National College of Arts at Punjab University in Lahore, Sarwat Ali, told […]
  • Pakistan: Marked for death by the Taliban

    ARTICLES ##PagePublishedLong## 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. Austin Dacey, a philosopher who serves as an adviser to Freemuse, asked the singer what he makes of the […]
  • Pakistan: Music stores are rebuilt in Swat valley

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Music stores are being rebuilt in Swat valley In 2008, the Taliban militants in the north-western Pakistani valley of Swat imposed a ban on all forms of artistic expression. Now that the Taliban are no longer a force in Swat, culture has made a comeback, reported Shaheen Buneri to BBC South Asia. […]
  • USA: Banned music showcased in concert series in New York

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## USA:Banned music showcased in concert series in New YorkAustin Dacey and Haroon Bacha. Photo by Quoc Pham A concert with the exiled Pakistani singer Haroon Bacha on 9 December 2009 marks the start of a performance series at Brooklyn’s Littlefield that aims to showcase banned music from around the globe — music literally […]
  • Pakistan: Singer shot dead by her brothers

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Singer shot dead by her brothers Pashto singer Shamim Aiman Udas was murdered on 26 April 2009. According to her husband, she was killed by her own brothers, reported the Pakistani newspapers Daily Times and The News. Immediately after the killing of Aiman Udas, it was largely suspected that religious militants might have […]
  • Pakistan/USA: Salman Ahmad: Obama should listen to Pakistani artists

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan / USA:Salman Ahmad: ‘Obama should listen to Pakistani artists’ As the Taliban silence music in the Swat Valley in northern Pakistan, Freemuse ambassador and singer Salman Ahmad denounces the Pakistani peace accord with the Taliban. American president Barack Obama has promised to listen to the Muslim world. He can start by listening […]
  • Pakistan: Music has died in the Swat valley

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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 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 […]
  • Pakistan: ‘Taliban have hijacked Islam’, says Freemuse ambassador

    ARTICLE ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:‘Taliban have hijacked Islam’, says Freemuse ambassador Responding to the situation in Swat valley where music has been silenced by the Taliban, Pakistani rockstar Salman Ahmad puts forward his view that the Islam of Pakistan is the faith that takes inspiration from the tolerant Sufi teachings of poets and philosophers like Rumi, Bulleh […]
  • Pakistan: ‘The Miscreants’ – The popular culture of war in Pakistan

    FILM ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Behind the Tribal Belt in Pakistan The Australian documentary film director George Gittoes gets up close to the clash of fundamentalism and entertainment, virtual and real, in this off beat doc-drama mix, in which he enters the no-go zone of the Taliban controlled Tribal Belt in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province. Included in the […]
  • Pakistan: High Court imposes ban on ‘immoral songs’

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:High Court imposed ban on ‘immoral songs’ On 27 April 2009 the Lahore High Court imposed a ban on songs by the two Lahore singers Naseebo Lal and Nooro Lal, deeming them ‘indecent, immoral’ and ‘against the values of a Muslim society’, reported The News International. According to the newspaper, justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry also […]
  • Pakistan: Taliban kill dancer in Swat valley

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Taliban kill dancer in Swat valley Shabana, one of Pakistan’s celebrated dancers, was shot dead in Mingora on 2 January 2009 after defying the Taliban’s ban on music and dance. Armed men reportedly dragged Shabana away from her home in Banr Bazaar, and she begged them to shoot her rather than slit her […]
  • Pakistan: Four men shaved as punishment for listening to music

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Shaved as punishment for listening to music In the district of Buner, just 100 kilometres from the capital Islamabad, a terrified young man told a reporter from Associated Press that Taliban militants had shaved the heads and moustaches of him and three friends for listening to music late in the evening of 25 […]
  • Human Rights for Musicians – Impressions & Descriptions: Salman Ahmad

    PUBLICATIONS TEN YEARS WITH FREEMUSE IMPRESSIONS & DESCRIPTIONS Salman Ahmad Musician and composer, Pakistan Music, I believe, is the strongest dialogue you can make with other people. Music lifts the veil of darkness from the Truth. Maybe this is why some mullahs are afraid of music. They are afraid that if people are free to […]
  • Sardar Yousafzai

    SARDAR YOUSAFZAI(Pakistan) ##PagePublishedLong## Audio interview with the singer Sardar Yousafzai who survived an attempt on his life on 15 December 2008. A band of unidentified militants targetted his car in Malakand area of North Western Pakistan to punish him for his work as a popular Pashto singer. Earlier, a number of Pashtun singers were threatened, […]
  • Pakistan: Harmonium player Anwar Gul murdered by militants

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Harmonium player murdered by Taliban 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. By Shaheen Buneri – Freemuse’s correspondent in Pakistan                      Anwar Gul    Photo by Asad Danish It was a […]
  • Gulzar Alam

    GULZAR ALAM(Pakistan) ##PagePublishedLong## Audio interview with the popular Pashtun singer Gulzar Alam who escaped an attack on his life on 16 October 2008. Freemuse talked to Gulzar Alam about the incident and his feeling as a singer when Taliban militants bombed hundreds of music shops in the restive north-western Pakistan. The interview was conducted and […]
  • Pakistan: Musician threatened in Karachi

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Musician threatened in Karachi Musician and singer Noel Jamshaid was threatened with “dire consequences” by unidentified persons in Karachi, reported Rehman Saman on 21 September 2008. The newsletter Minorities Concern of Pakistan wrote: “Some men halted Noel Jamshaid when he was on his way home around 9 PM on his motorbike. They jolted […]
  • North-west Pakistan: Jihadi hymns replace music

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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: Either quit singing or face the wrath of different Taliban groups. By Shaheen Buneri – reporting for Freemuse from Peshawar In this newspaper advertisement […]
  • Pakistan: Death threats from the Taliban made singer flee his country

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Taliban death threats made singer flee his country Haroon Bacha, a Pashtun singer from the north-western part of Pakistan, fled his homeland two months ago and is now in New York, where he regularly gives performances. A reporter from The New York Times met him and published an interview with the 36-year-old […]
  • Pakistan: Online music video banned by Telecommunication Authority

    “They are helping us by making this video controversial,” Beygairat Brigade’s lead singer Ali Aftab Saeed said to Pakistan’s The Express Tribune, after the band’s online music video ‘Dhinak Dhinak’ was banned by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. vimeo.com Beygairat Brigade put out their new song, ‘Dhinak Dhinak’, on Vimeo on 20 April 2013. First Post wrote: “The […]
  • Pakistan: Music breaks chains in North West Pakistan

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Music breaks chains in North West Pakistan The melody of Pashto music has been in chains for the last five years. The former government of a six-party religious alliance imposed curbs on music in public and a consequent wave of militancy targeted singers, musicians and music shops all over the province. Today the […]
  • Pakistan: Religious music prohibition discussed in popular movie

    FILM ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Religious music prohibition discussed in popular movie The highest grossing film of Pakistan of all time, ‘In the name of God’, is a story about a musician who gives up music because a fundamentalist cleric says music is forbidden according to Islam. The Pakistani Urdu-language movie ‘In the name of God’ (‘Khuda Kay […]
  • Pakistan: Taliban group issues new ban on sale of music

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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, reports Daily India on 22 August 2007 By Freemuse A ban on music has been imposed by […]
  • Pakistan: String of bomb attacks on CD shops across the northwest province

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:String of bomb attacks on CD shops across the northwest province Militants emulating the Taliban have blown up numerous music shops in northwest Pakistan this week. In the regional capital, a bomb blast damaged almost all 40 shops in the Hussain CD market on 9 October 2007 Excerpts of the news-stream from the […]
  • Pakistan: Musicians and singers live in danger

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Northern Pakistan:Musicians and singers live in danger A complete ban on all singing and dancing is implemented in Mingora city in northern Pakistan. Music concerts and cultural stage shows have stopped, and the singers and dancers have been thrown out of business, reports M. Ilyas Khan from the Swat region for the BBC News. […]
  • Pakistan: Music and militancy in the frontier (radio report)

    RADIO REPORT 25 February 2008 Pakistan:Music and militancy in the frontier  An executive order banning music shops spread shock and fear among 200 shop owners Reporter: Marvaiz KhanDuration: 6 minutes 44 secondsLanguage: Pashto BRIEFThis radio report tells about religious militants’ attacks on music centres, and the reactions from the owners of the music business in […]
  • Pakistan: Religious extremists request radio to stop its music programmes

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Religious extremists requested radio station to stop playing music The radio station Dera Radio was asked by unknown callers to stop it’s music programmes for religous reasons According to the Pakistani newspaper Daily Express the unknown callers gave threatening warnings to the radio station in Dera Ismail Khan in North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. […]
  • Pakistan: Religious extremists destroyed 25 music shops

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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 for “promoting obscenity and destroying religious values” By Pakistan Press Foundation, PPF, in Karachi The incident on 4 […]
  • Pakistan: Attack on hotel where music was played

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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, reports The Asian Age on 12 September 2007. “In Mingora, dozens of local Taliban attacked and ransacked a hotel on […]
  • Pakistan: Music centres threatened by religious extremists

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Music centres threatened by religious extremists “Close within three days – or you will be blown away”. 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 from Pakistan, who on 4 March 2007 met with the […]
  • Pakistan: Music and video shop blown away

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Music and video shop blown away “Close within three days – or you will be blown away.” This threat by the religious extremists became a glaring reality when a music and video centre was blown away on 13 March 2007 in the Bakhshali Village of District Mardan in north-west Pakistan By Marvaiz Khan, […]
  • Pakistan: Music CDs burned in the streets of Islamabad

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Music CDs burned in the streets of Islamabad Students of a religious seminary burnt music CDs, video recorders and tv-sets worth 1.5 million rupees (app. 25,000 US dollars) in the federal capital of Pakistan on Friday 6 April 2007. They also issued warnings to the owners of music centres to close down their […]
  • Pakistan: Extremists kill one, injure two in music shop attacks

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Extremists kill one, injure two in attacks on music shops Two separate terrorist attacks on music centres left one killed and two seriously injured in Mardan and Peshawar respectively as extremist religious groups have intensified their campaign against all forms of entertainment in north-west Pakistan By Marvaiz Khan, Freemuse’s correspondent reporting from Peshawar […]
  • Three films about music and Islam hit Scandinavia

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Sweden and Denmark:Three films about music and Islam hit Scandinavia Pakistani rock star and filmmaker Salman Ahmad, and editor of the UK world music magazine Songlines Simon Broughton will make a quick visit to Denmark and Sweden in February to show three documentari films highlighting essential discussions concerning music and Islam. Salman Ahmad will […]
  • Pakistan: Islamic music prohibition discussed on Danish tv

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Islamic music prohibition discussed on Danish tv ‘Our prophet was born to do away with loud music’, a mullah from Pakistan’s second-largest mosque was quoted as saying in a report from Pakistan on the national tv-channel DR1 on 18 March 2007 “This is a big crisis, and this is turning many Pakistanis into a […]
  • Denmark: Focus on arguments against religious music prohibition

    ACTIVITIES ##PagePublishedLong## Denmark: Focus on arguments against religious music prohibition Two national tv stations and several newspapers interviewed the Pakistani rock musician Salman Ahmad about his viewpoints on music prohibition in Islam Salman Ahmad was visiting the Danish capital Copenhagen to present the documentary film, ‘The Rock Star and the Mullahs’. After screening the film, […]
  • Pakistan: Music business faces serious threats in North West Pakistan

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Terror against music business in North West Frontier Province escalates 1,200 owners of music centres have been warned by Islamic hardliners of “serious consequences” if they fail to close down their “immoral business”. On 21 April 2007, three more owners of video and music shops experienced the seriousness of these threats when their […]
  • Freemuse: Religious fanatics a threat to music

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Freemuse: Religious fanatics a threat to music “Religious fanatics in countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Switzerland and Poland are threatening the musical freedom of the world”, says Freemuse at a presentation at the current biannual conference for popular music researchers from the whole world held in Mexico City. By Freemuse Researchers Elijah Wald […]
  • Pakistan: Music video about 9/11 censored

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Music video about 9/11 censored The Pakistani-Canadian rock group Falak has been blacklisted on MTV Pakistan After having aired the music video for their song ‘Yadein II’ for a couple of months, the tv channel deemed it too controversial because of its images related to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade […]
  • Pakistan: Intensified campaign against music

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Intensified campaign against music Attacks on music shops. Music players in cars destoyed. Ban on the sale of CDs and cassettes. Religious militants’ violent attacks on property belonging to people who sell, play or listen to music are intensified in north-western Pakistan, reports the news agencies Within one week 20 music shops are […]
  • Pakistan: Bus drivers threatened not to play music

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Bus drivers threatened not to play music An organisation called Mujahideen Bajaur has warned public transport drivers in Bajaur to stop the “un-Islamic act” of playing music in buses, reported The Dawn – Pakistan’s most widely circulated English language newspaper According to Mujahideen Bajaur, playing music in buses is an un-Islamic act […]
  • USA: Banned Musician speaks at Clinton Global Initiative

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## USA:Banned musician invited to speakat Clinton Global Initiative Pakistani guitarist Salman Ahmad is invited to speak at former US president Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative panel in New York on 21 September 2006 Salman Ahmad will make a presentation on the role of culture in building bridges between Islam and the West.Salman last year […]
  • Pakistan: Call for music centres to be closed

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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, cinemas and cable services and ban on video games and obscenity-oriented activities during the holy month of Ramzan While addressing a press conference on 21 September 2006 at […]
  • Pakistan: Renewed ban on audio cassettes

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Renewed ban on all “un-Islamic” 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, a Daily Times’ staff member reports from Miranshah According to the Daily Times, the religious leaders warned people of “serious repercussions” if […]
  • Pakistan: Two more music shops bombed

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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. For almost five years, Pakistani soldiers and paramilitary forces have battled local tribesmen, many believed allied to the Taliban from Afghanistan […]
  • Pakistan: Students protest against music classes

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Students protest against music classes In Lahore, the student wing of Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) has intensified its protest campaign against the start of music classes in Punjab University, writes Gulfnews.com IJT activists have been staging protests inside the university premises on a daily basis against the decision to start a master’s […]
  • Pakistan: Ban on dance and music in schools

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## 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 In a speech at the Sialkot Institute of Information Technology and NISA Girls College on 22 April 2006, Punjab education minister Mian Imran Masood said that the […]
  • Pakistan: Music banned in Pakistani province

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Music banned in Pakistani Provence 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 Pakistan’s most widely circulated English language newspaper, Dawn The residents said that announcement was made through loud speakers from mosques, asking men to […]
  • Pakistan: Festival defying Islamic hardliners

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Festival defying Islamic hardliners Lahore festival aims to transform Pakistani life. And the government has taken note. This year, Pakistan’s president, general Pervez Musharraf, attended the festival In Pakistan, the 10-day Lahore festival is a huge, at times startling cultural event. The festival is defying Islamic hardliners but delighting the country’s president with […]
  • Pakistan: Explosion destroys music shops

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan:Explosion destroys music shops On January 21, 2006, 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, Pakistani security officials have reported to Kuwait News Agency A powerful explosion ripped through a bazaar of a remote Pakistani […]
  • Pakistan: Two South Indian dance teachers stand up to ban

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Two teachers of South Indian dance stand up to religious ban on dance For the past 53 years, Indu and Tehreema Mitha have been doing the impossible in Pakistan: teaching South Indian dance, Bharatanatyam, to Muslim girls in a country where Islamic clergymen will not allow girls to dance Without any fanfare […]
  • Faiz Ali Faiz

    FAIZ ALI FAIZ(Pakistan) ##PagePublishedLong## The Pakistani singer Faiz Ali Faiz sings qawwali, the local form of Sufi praise song, with a voice which might remind you of the great master Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. According to the tradition, Qawwali music speaks of love, not of politics, and Faiz Ali Faiz has never personally encountered music censorship. […]
  • Pakistan: Grenade kills four listening to music at wedding party

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Grenade kills four listening to music at wedding party According to the American Center for Defense Information, on October 14, 2004, an attacker threw a grenade into a wedding ceremony at the Afghan refugee camp in Jalala, outside Peshwar, in Pakistan, killing four and injuring 35 people. The guests were listening to […]
  • Pakistan: Pro-Taliban strikes against music shops

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: Pro-Taliban strikes against music shops Music shops ordered to close down and are attacked with bombs and violence if they don’t, writes ADN Kronos International’s Syed Saleem Shahzad from Karachi The pro-Taliban warlord Abdullah Mehsud, 29, who operates in the Waziristan province of Pakistan, has recently announced the implementation of strict Islamic laws in North and South […]
  • Salman Ahmad

    SALMAN AHMAD Musician (Pakistan)       Salman Ahmad was a member of the Pakistani rock band Junoon, until he moved to the US. In this video interview he tells about his experience of meeting with clerics in Pakistan and discussing with them whether it is true that music is prohibited according to Islam.   Wimpy […]
  • Previously banned music now flyes off the shelves in Pakistan

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Previously banned music now flyes off the shelves in Pakistan Two young boys had to play in secret because their music was banned by Pakistani fundamentalists. Now they are selling thousands of albums, and are popular among Pakistanis all over the world. BBC News’ Haroon Rashid writes from Pakistan’s conservative North-West Frontier Province, […]
  • Clerics condemn Kashmir pop song

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Clerics condemn Kashmir pop songReligious leaders in Indian administered 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. The song has become popular with people across the disputed […]
  • Junoon

    JUNOON(Pakistan)
  • Music provoke islamists on Pakistan campuses

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Music provoke Islamists on Pakistan campusesA 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. Full story at Yahoo News […]
  • Pakistan: The censored meet the censor

    NEWS ##PagePublishedLong## Pakistan: The censored meet the censorWhere in Islam does it say that music is forbidden?” In the BBC4 programme “The Rock Star and the Mullah”, Salman Ahmad, guitarist with Pakistani rock group Junoon, meet the men who banned music. From BBC;http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3322539.stm Related reading
  • Norway/UK: “My first love was always music”

      NEWS   Video recordings from ‘All that is Banned is Desired’: “My first love was always music” In the session ‘STOP THIS FILTH: ARTISTS UNDER THREATS’, ex-singer Deeyah and actor Arshad Hussain testifies about serious threaths and an actual abduction, a reality faced by some performing artists due to social and cultural pressures in Afghanistan […]
  • Afghanistan: Witnessing a resurge in music

    NEWS Pakistan: Musicians and artists are returning to Swat Valley Pashto music can now be heard in almost every nook and corner of Afghanistan, reported PRlog. Today many Pakistani film makers are coming to Afghanistan to engage Pashto performers and artists for tv serials and movies. Although they are regularly receiving threats from the Taliban […]
  • Afghanistan and Pakistan: Understanding the Taliban’s campaign against music

    NEWS Afghanistan / Pakistan: Understanding the Taliban’s campaign against music Renowned British ethnomusicologist John Baily and Freemuse executive director Marie Korpe spoke to Radio Liberty correspondent Abubakar Siddique about the Taliban’s campaign against music and musicians in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Excerpts: By Abubakar Siddique, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty correspondent The Taliban justifies their […]
  • Afghanistan: Afghan idol: ‘My life is under threat’

    NEWS     Afghanistan: Afghan idol: ‘My life is under threat’ 20-year-old Lima Sahar charmed her way into the third spot of the 2008 version of the wildly popular ‘Afghan Star’ competition, beating more than 2,000 rivals in votes sent by mobile telephone text message. Now in exile, she fears for her life.   A […]
  • Pervaiz Akhtar

    PERVAIZ AKHTAR(Pakistan / Denmark) 29 October 2008 Pakistani musician Pervaiz Akhtar, today based in Denmark, explains (in Danish language) about his personal experiences with music censorship in Pakistan.   Wimpy Wasp Player The interview was held in connection with a ‘Concert against music censorship’ which was organised by the Danish Refugee Council in Copenhagen on […]
  • Afghanistan: Music download shop attacked, two killed

    NEWS 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 southeastern town of Khost on 22 April 2007 A bomb blast in a mobile telephone shop where residents regularly download music into their mobile phones, two men were […]
  • Pakistan: Fear and persecution follows Afghan musicians

    ARTICLE Pakistan: Fear and persecution follows Afghan musicians Fear and persecution forced them to leave Afghanistan. Now it is haunting them in north-west Pakistan. Islamists’ continous attacks on music centres send fear across the region and make the Afghan singers living in Peshawar feel insecure. They experience lack of job opportunities, and are on the […]
  • Pakistan: Fine for playing music in taxi, music shop attacked

    NEWS Pakistan: Fine for playing music in taxi Having banned music in Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, the Taliban are now imposing a fine of 500 rupees for any one playing it in public, reports several news agencies Taxi drivers complain that even possession of a CD player in their vehicles is enough to invite […]
  • Freemuse.org: Focus on artists from the Middle East

    NEWS Freemuse.org:Videocamera focus on artists from the Middle East Watch the new video interviews on www.freemuse.org During the ‘Images of the Middle East’ festival in Denmark in August-September 2006, Freemuse recorded video interviews with… • Turkish-Kurdish folk singer  Sivan Perwer• Palestinian-Israeli singer Kamilya Jubran• Lebanese Death Metal band Oath to Vanquish• Lebanese-French rapper and composer Clotaire K• Also, […]
  • Freedom of Expression Awards 2004

    NEWS 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, Junoon, and Ferhat Tunc. See; http://www.indexonline.org/news/20040322_international.shtml Read more: Roskilde Festival 2003, Damon Albarn on music censorship Damon […]
  • Musicians claim police harassment

    NEWS Musicians claim police harassmentPakistani musicians living near the country’s border with Afghanistan have complained they are being harassed by hardliners attempting to stamp out music and movies.Story from BBC Related reading Read more:
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