Ayubia music festival draws crowd despite security threat -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Ayubia music festival draws crowd despite security threat

KHANASPUR: Tourism Corporation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in collaboration with private organisers managed to successfully hold National Music Festival in the lush green valley of Khanaspur in Ayubia.

The first two days of the three-day festival were marred by alleged threats from extremist groups that the event would be attacked if music was played. One would, however, suspect the authenticity of such threats as the festival is being held for the third consecutive year in the valley at a time when tourists also have thronged this hill station and there has never been any such security issue earlier.

According to the organizers, though around 400 policemen, including Elite Force personnel, were provided for security of the venue and those coming to the festival, the district administration seemed to have sided with the suspected militants instead of assuring organizers of security. The administration had told the organizers that they should not let any female singer perform on the stage.

About 182 pop and folk singers, including famous as well as new ones, from all over the country were going to perform in this festival, but very few singers performed during first two days. On the evening of second day of the festival some male folk singers performed on stage and the cheers from the crowd proved how much people desire for such festivities.

As a singer sang a famous Pashto song ‘Ro Ro Keda Qadamoona’ an elderly man jumped right in front of the stage and danced to express his love for the music and song. The clapping and whistles from the crowd appreciated it too.

Traditional dance troupes from Cholistan (Sindh), Multan, Kashmir, Hazara, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan mainly captured the visitors’ attention. The stalls of traditional foods were a blessing for those who had come to enjoy the cool atmosphere and traditional music.

On the third day of the music festival, traditional dancers from Sindh, GB, Punjab, Balochistan and KP performed at daytime in intervals so that if some visitors missed their performance they could see it later.

Despite traditional dances one could feel there was something missing. Perhaps songs and music which was not as continuous as a visitor would want it to be at a national level festival. The number of visitors was also less compared to such festivals held in previous years though militancy and terrorism threats were as much there as today.

One wondered if the less number of visitors had anything to do with the publicity campaign of this event, as it was not much publicised and one could hardly find any banner or poster about the National Music Festival in Galyat, what to talk of its publicity in cities like Peshawar and Islamabad.

Minister for Tourism and Youth Affairs Syed Aqil Shah also attended the festival on Sunday and praised the organisers for their efforts. The singers including Nazir Ahmed, Khuzdari Baloch, Altaaf Kashmiri, Anwar Ali, Zaakir Mir Mughal Hazara, Krishen Gee, Alan Fakir Junior, Ahmed Jilani, Yaqeen Band, Badnam Band, Fiza Fayaz and Fakhir performed at the festival.

Like any other festivals, the handicraft stalls belonged to women entrepreneurs of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which were decorated to attract visiting ladies.

Dawn