RAWALPINDI, Aug 26: A planned musical concert in connection with Eid festival in the scenic Muree hills was cancelled on Sunday, after local religious clerics issued decree against the activity. The fatwa forced organisers to do away with their plan.

The two-day Youth and Family Festival was jointly organised by Parks and Horticulture Agency (PHA) and Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab at Cricket Stadium Bhurban, in order to entertain tourists and residents.

According to the official handout issued here, over 5,000 families had thronged the venue on the first day of the festival on Saturday, while a much bigger number of visitors were anxiously waiting for the musical concert on Sunday.

“Some angry religious cleric approached us after we had successfully advertised about the concert. Despite our requests that the musical concert was solely aimed at giving free entertainment to people in connection with Eid, the clerics demanded complete and immediate ban on the show,” Managing Director PHA Capt Mushtaq Ahmed told Dawn on Sunday.

“We had invited several well-known pop and classical singers to participate in the concert but we had to cancel the plan owing to the harsh criticism of local religious clerics,” Mr Ahmed, the chief organiser of the festival maintained.

However, he said that the festival proved to be a healthy activity as it also contained other recreational events including food streets, magic shows, cultural exhibitions, entertainment villages for children and women and many other things.

According to organisers, over 15,000 families were expected to reach the vast lawn of Bhurban Cricket Stadium, the venue, for watching the live concert but the religious clerics used loud speakers to condemn the music show thus forcing the managers to wind up the event.

According to officials involved in arranging the festival, the influence of local religious figures had been growing in the hilly station of Murree arguing that it was discouraging tourism in the scenic place.

DCO Rawalpindi Saqib Zaffar and Commissioner Imdadullah Bosal were supposed to inaugurate the concert but had to cancel their visits after objections were raised on the show.

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