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Pak Punjab: Resolution passed against objectionable concerts

Pakistan's Punjab assembly has unanimously passed a resolution seeking a ban on "objectionable music concerts" in all public and private institutions of the province with 90 million people.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Lahore
UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2012 01:46 PM IST

Pakistan's Punjab assembly has unanimously passed a resolution seeking a ban on "objectionable music concerts" in all public and private institutions of the province with 90 million people.

The resolution was moved yesterday by PML-Q's Seemal Kamran, who described all musical concerts by educational institutions as unethical and objectionable and sought a ban on them.

Law minister Rana Sanaullah initially said the treasury members opposed the resolution, following which Kamran was asked to argue in favour of her resolution.

"Pakistan is an Islamic republic. Allowing concerts in educational institutions is against our morals," Kamran said while listing her reasons for moving the resolution.

"When I was in college, we used to get into trouble for having painted nails. Institutions have now done away with that kind of discipline in the name of moderation," she claimed.

The concerts were "publicity tools" for educational institutions, she said while referring to the recent death of three girls from a local college during a stampede at a concert by singer Atif Aslam in Lahore.

The concert had been organised by the Punjab College at Alhamra Cultural Complex.

After hearing Kamran's views, Law Minister Sanaullah said the government could not impose a blanket ban on concerts in educational institutions because there were concerts where bands sing "harmless" songs.

Sanaullah said the treasury benches would support the resolution if the phrase "ban on...all musical concerts" was amended to "ban on...objectionable musical concerts."

Kamran agreed and the resolution was passed unanimously.

The law minister further said the three girls had died in a stampede at a concert that was organised by a group of private colleges.

He said it was "unfortunate" that the media had played down the incident "because the man who owns that group of colleges also owns a news channel."

Shaukat Mehmood Basra of the Pakistan People's Party, which is part of the opposition in Punjab, said the resolution should not have been passed because no one had defined the term "objectionable."

The move was also criticised by singers and artistes in Lahore, considered Pakistan's cultural capital.

The Punjab government led by chief minister Shahbaz Sharif later distanced itself from the resolution due to the strong reaction from youth organisations and artistes.

"Since Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf has been attracting the youth, such a step by the government will make their position more vulnerable. That is why the Punjab government was quick to distance itself," a PML-N leader said.

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