Pakistan rock band concert for peace
Strife-torn Indian Kashmir is set to rock to the beat of music, not bombs, on Sunday as Pakistan’s renowned band Junoon holds the biggest musical event in the region in nearly two decades in a bid for peace. Junoon, which means obsession in Urdu, belts out rock tunes inspired by Sufism, a mystic branch of Islam, and social issues. Singer Salman Ahmed said performing in Srinagar has always been one of the band’s goals.
“It is a concert for peace in the region,” said Prasad Rao, whose non-governmental South Asia Foundation (SAF) is organising the event.. “We are expecting 5,000 to 10,000 people and this is going to be a mega-event,” he said, adding that President Pratibha Patil, scheduled to start a three-day tour to Kashmir on Friday, is expected to attend.
Scenic Kashmir, South Asia’s Sufi heartland, has been blighted by years of violence and its easy-going society suppressed by a ban on entertainment by separatist Muslim guerrillas. The influence of the militants’ is now waning over daily life – traditional theatre and music are being revived and alcohol is becoming more readily available in the valley.