LAHORE: The Punjab government’s plan to organise a musical night with the Romanian pop band Akcent to ‘express solidarity with the Kashmiris’ at Governor House today (Sunday) has sparked a controversy following a fierce reaction from the electronic and social media.

A governor’s spokesperson said the programme has been cancelled, claiming that the Governor House did not know the details of the event but only knew that an event was being organised by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

“As we got details that a musical night will be held to express solidarity with the Kashmiris, we have withdrawn our offer to allow holding the event on the Governor House lawns,” the spokesperson added.

However, Chief Minister’s Taskforce on Women Development chairperson Tanzila Imran, the host of the event, says the programme has not been cancelled as yet. She says pop singer Adrian Sina would land in Pakistan soon.

Ms Imran told Dawn she had found the singer on Twitter after he was continuously supporting Pakistan and chiding India for its brutalities on Kashmiris, including women and children.

Spokesperson says event has been cancelled; organiser denies

She claimed Mr Sina had shown special love for Pakistan and had tweeted Happy Independence Day to Pakistan on Aug 14 but did not do so on Aug 15 for India, which fetched strong reaction and criticism from India.

Following Indian pilot Abhinandan’s capture in Pakistan and presentation of cup of tea to him, Akcent band singer had tweeted “Fantastic Cup of Tea”. Ms Imran said the ISPR had responded to this tweet and invited him for a cup of tea.

“This is the whole background when I decided to find and invite him for his performance but with an obligation that he will address a press conference, criticise brutalities and demand lifting of curfew in Kashmir,” the Chief Minister’s Taskforce chairperson said.

The pop singer had tweeted on Oct 19: “Coming to Lahore on 24 Nov and would love to have a fantastic cup of tea with you at Governor House VOK organized by J.H Entertainment. Thanks to PM of Pakistan Imran Khan, Governor Punjab, CM Punjab, Women Development Task Force Punjab Tanzila Imran Khan”.

“I had booked the singer at a cost of Rs800,000 from my own pocket and so far spent Rs2.8m from my pocket to raise a voice against brutalities being committed in Kashmir as well as the worst kind of curfew that imprisoned all Kashmiris in the valley,” Tanzila Imran said.

She said the Punjab government had only given a newspaper advertisement and the Governor House had committed for the ground.

“Besides this, neither the Punjab government, nor did Governor House or women development department spent even a single penny on the event,” she added.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2019