Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah on Sunday said the provincial government will take action against any notification issued to ban dance in schools.
Earlier in October, one of the three Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers in the 168-strong Sindh Assembly, Khurrum Sher Zaman, allegedly objected to the inclusion of dance classes in some private schools and wrote to the provincial education minister to take “appropriate action.”
“I feel strongly that dance classes should not be held in schools, as Pakistan is an Islamic republic and [dance] is against Islamic principles and teachings,” the lawmaker allegedly wrote. “I kindly request that you look into this matter and take appropriate action in accordance with Islamic principles and injunctions that are protected and advocated in our constitution.”
The CM, however, said that the concerned minister "has categorically denied endorsing such a ban and notice is being taken regarding the statement falsely attributed to him."
"Action is being taken against any notification issued to ban dance in schools and those responsible will be taken to task," Murad Shah said.
The provincial government believes in preserving and promoting culture and heritage as enshrined in the constitution of Pakistan, he said.
"It will not be dictated by isolated extremist elements and will not allow its progressive agenda to be hijacked at any cost. Dance and music are integral parts of a liberal society and we continue our support to such activities," the CM said.
Performer and dance teacher Sheema Kermani while speaking to Dawn earlier expressed shock over the contents of the PTI lawmaker's alleged letter to the government.
She said she had thoroughly studied the religion and found no reference against dance.
“From Rumi to Shah Latif and beyond, we find everyone dances and their authority is unquestionable. I have found no reference in any sacred and religious textbook which goes against dance,” said Kermani, while speaking to Dawn.
She said the problem was that schools were not teaching dance to children.
“Tell me which school has included dance in its curriculum. I don’t know about any. In fact, we want schools to teach dance to their children which they are not doing. Classical dance defines humanity; it is vulgar dance that should be banned.”
Ms Kermani said she and her colleagues were planning a campaign to convince schools to make dance a part of their curriculum.