Pakistan Looks to Ban Hip-Hop Within Educational Institutions


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On January 24, Pakistan’s Punjab Assembly adopted five resolutions of the public’s interest, including a ban on objectionable music concerts at public and private educational institutions, a ban that includes Hip-Hop music.

After amending the original draft with the addition of word ‘objectionable’ before ‘music concerts,’ the House passed the resolution with a majority vote.

While other issues included stopping the waste of money obtained on loans from international financial institutions, curbing population growth, and passport issuance, Hip-Hop fans in Pakistan will face scrutiny for listening to the music oft deemed in poor taste and values.

Last year, the United States tried to use Hip-Hop as a form of diplomacy, as it brought the FEW Collective, a group from Chicago, to Islamabad, where they danced, rapped, and recited poetry to a Westernized, educated elite audience of young Pakistanis.

Things didn’t go as planned, however, as the Chicago group was detained by Pakistani authorities for a brief period of time, due to one member unknowingly taking photos of “sensitive installations” in the city of Rawalpindi, a garrison city home to the powerful army’s headquarters.

The performances were part of a long standing tradition of diplomacy through music via the State Department. In the late 1950′s, jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie and Dave Brubeck toured Pakistan as part of the program, but Hip-Hop has had little breakthrough over the years as traditionalists oppose the new form of expression.

Despite the opposition, in Pakistan, traditional qawwali music and Hip-Hop have drawn many comparisons due to the complex nature of their vocals, and the improvisational component of the lyricism seen in both forms of music.

Hip-Hop artists have their work cut out for them in Pakistan, though, a country where a mere 12 percent of Pakistanis have a favorable opinion of the United States, according to a July poll by the Pew Research Center, while 73 percent have an unfavorable opinion and 16 percent don’t know according to a Reuters story last November.

The move to ban “objectionable” concerts comes amid an incident that left three students killed in a stampede at a concert in Lahore.




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