LAHORE: Pakistani authorities did not allow a visiting US hip-hop troupe to perform in the eastern city of Lahore on Monday for security reasons, a senior official said.
The Chicago-based FEW Collective is in Pakistan at the invitation of the US embassy and performed a concert in Islamabad last Tuesday as part of a cultural exchange programme in a country fraught with anti-Americanism.
The group's scheduled performance in Lahore had to be cancelled after the local Al-Hamra Arts Council refused permission over its alleged failure to provide a no objection certificate (NOC) from the provincial home office, the council's director, Zulfikar Ali, said.
He said the US consulate had contacted the arts council six days ago about the holding of the concert. “We provided them the hall which remained vacant.
They were not allowed to hold the concert because they did not provide the NOC from the home department,” Ali told AFP.
“There was no band and no audience, the concert could not be held today in the absence of the NOC which is an essential document to ensure security arrangements at the venue,” he added.
US consulate officials were not immediately reachable for comment.
On Wednesday Pakistani military officials briefly detained six members of the troupe, accusing a performer of taking sensitive photographs in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.
Pakistan-US ties deteriorated sharply this year over a unilateral American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May and over accusations that Pakistani intelligence was involved in a September siege of the US embassy in Kabul.