PESHAWAR: An emerging folk singer from North Waziristan has urged the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to compensate the artists and literati from the newly-merged tribal areas owing to their sufferings at the hands of militants.

Ghayour Wazir, 28, hailing from Torikhel Wazir tribe, told this scribe that he grew up with bloodshed scenes and fear of militants all around him, but he would stealthily listen to Pashto songs on his mini radio set and it motivated a spirit in him to work for peace through singing if he got a chance.

“I want the KP culture department to make a comprehensive plan for compensating artists, performers and literati to address their financial and resettlement issues. It is unfortunate that neither the federal government nor provincial government has taken steps to ameliorate the plight of artists and writers belonging to the tribal districts despite their sufferings,” the artist said.

Mr Wazir has released several video albums showcasing folk songs in Waziri accent, folk dance songs and remixed tracks. He said that he had done his master’s in Applied Economics from IMSciences, Peshawar, and another master’s degree in Pakistan Studies from the University of Peshawar. He said that love for music had already taken roots in his heart after his intermediate education way back in 2012.

“Love for singing brought displeasure of my parents and wrath of militants, who sent me threatening messages asking me to give up songs of peace and war regarding tribal belt, but I was focused and determined,” he stated.

The rising star said that his maiden performance at ‘Waziristan Night’ in Peshawar in 2015 encouraged him to realise his dream of joining music as career.

Mr Wazir said that he learned the basics of music from Gulzar Alam and remixed several popular Pashto folk songs. He said that he had been working with private TV channels in different capacities for the last over three years. He said that he had been working on a Pashto album, which included numbers of Khatir Afridi, Malang Jan Ustad, Ghani Khan and a few other poets.

“Presently, I am learning playing harmonium from noted folk singer Rashid Khan,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2019