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Pakistan: Clerics apologise after burning musical instruments

9 October 2017
The organisers of a seminar in Landi Kotal apologised for declaring a ban on musical gatherings and burning musical instruments after Friday prayers.
Photo: Pakistan Qawwali Harmonium/Wikicommons

 

The organisers of a seminar in Landi Kotal, located in Khyber Agency in north-western Pakistan, submitted a letter to the office of the local Assistant Political Agent (APA) apologising for declaring a ban on musical gatherings and burning musical instruments after Friday prayer on 8 September 2017, reported the daily Pakistan Today on 9 September.

The APA summoned the two clerics – Syed Mohammed Ilyas Banuri (aka Khan Lala) and Muhammad Ibrahim (aka Bacha Jan) – and declared that “nobody will be allowed to take the law in their hands”. In their apology, the clerics described the incident as a “misunderstanding”, promising to remain law-abiding and refrain from committing such actions again. Common tribesmen, elders, and civil society organizations praised the political administration for taking early notice of the matter.

The ban on musical gatherings was first announced by the clerics who organised the Khanqah-e-Binoria seminary. During his Friday’s sermon, Bacha Jan declared musical gatherings to be un-Islamic, adding that a ban on such gatherings would be enacted and initially applied to the Shinwari territory, and would later be extended to other parts of the Landi Kotal area with the consent of elders and officials. According to sources cited by DawnNews, the seminary organisers warned that those in possession of musical instruments would face fines or have their houses burned.

Prior to the announcement, Bacha Jan and some of his supporters raided weddings and other gatherings in the Sheikh Mal Khel and Mukhtar Khel areas and seized musical instruments, which were set on fire in the presence of hundreds of people after the 8 September Friday prayers. Once the musical instruments were burned, Bacha Jan thanked some of the elders “for supporting him in eliminating obscenity and un-Islamic acts from their roots”. 

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