Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali recently came forward as the first artiste from Pakistan to condemn the Uri attack in which more than 18 Indian soldiers were killed.
On the constant talk of banning artists from working in India, Times of India reports Shafqat as saying, “I think the question should not be about working in India right now. The question is about what role art plays in such situations. I haven’t seen this happen before, but it’s for the first time that I have seen extremists come forward so openly and speak of hatred, and try to verbally attack those who are even trying to suggest peace in this sensitive moment.”
“ This time, I have seen people attack even those who were trying to talk about solutions or even discuss peace on social media. I think the initial sentiment, which instantly went against artistes from Pakistan, put them on the back foot and they went quiet because it was shocking, honestly. I don’t think any artiste, Indian or Pakistani, would ever condone terrorism,” says Amanat Ali as reported by TOI.
Shafqat further added saying, “I think this debate should now end and both sides must come up with a solution to not only move forward peacefully but to sustain that positive state. Because of this way, people of both the nations suffer. Once this happens, I am hopeful that everything will resume and both nations will benefit and prosper.”
The iconic singer also said that people had almost instantaneously started claiming that Pakistan was behind the Uri attack and then initiation of criticising artists started.
“I can assure you that all the artistes and people of Pakistan condemn any kind of terror attack because we have seen it for years. It is widely known that the people of Pakistan have been suffering due to terrorism for so many years and how many people have been lost to this mindless violence. We have been fighting it within the country. We used to see so much terrorism within and it is only now, after many years, that the (Pakistani) Army has started cleaning it up and conducting operations to throw terrorists out. All the more reason that we condemn any terror attack anywhere in the world, including in India,” he said.
“I think Pakistani artistes are being careful right now. They realise that the situation is so vulnerable that anything they say can be twisted and will spiral out of control. They have been asked to leave the country and have been asked to condemn the attacks – at the same time, they are being told that Pakistan is responsible for the attack. Obviously, the artists are in an emotionally and politically twisted situation right now and want to be careful.”
Wishing for peace, Shafqat said, “I hope that sanity prevails, that people from both countries understand the value of peace and together work towards it. I have seen far worse situations between both countries. I am hopeful about peace because I know that’s how life and the world work. I am hoping and praying that this situation is resolved. I also pray that such situations don’t happen repeatedly and whatever resolution we come up with for these political matters, we do it as two responsible countries.”