American pianist Billy Joel once said , “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”  It doesn’t matter if the language is different, the one thing we all connect and relate to is the language of music. Although music can be seen as a means to break the shackles of boundaries, the situations turn out to be a bit ugly sometimes.

With the instances of various Pakistani singers and other artists being targeted by the Indian far-right parties like Shiv Sena becoming frequent, the very spirit of music is wounded. Here we take a look at the Pakistani singers who faced criticism in India and ran themselves into controversies.



Atif Aslam was all set to perform in a live concert which was scheduled to take place April 25, 2015, but the Indian political party Shiv Sena threatened the organisers to cancel the concert. After much fuss made by the party, the Pakistani rock star changed his mind causing a big financial loss to the organisers.

Later some of the Shiv Sena activists were spotted saying that the action was taken in the light of the cross-border terrorism.




A little over a decade ago, Adnan Sami’s touched the hearts of millions with his album ‘Kabhi Toh Nazar Milao‘ which was head and shoulders above a lot of film music being produced at that time. Apart from his brilliance in music Sami was recently a topic of debate and conversation and it was because this was for the first time since Independence that someone from the field of art, culture or science was given the citizenship of India.

His citizenship, which he got after three rejections was taken politically by a lot of people and he was subjected to continuous threats by Shiv Sena. Although according to Sami, he is proud to be known as an Indian and says that if India was intolerant he would have never got the citizenship.




This Pakistani ghazal maestro was denied the opportunity to perform not once but twice in Mumbai and Shiv Sena even claimed that it will interrupt future events featuring the legendary ghazal singer.

Following the cancellation of his event in Mumbai Ghulam Ali, who was who was scheduled to perform in  Mumbai  as a tribute to Jagjit Singh on his fourth death anniversary said he was not angry but hurt with whatever happened.



Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, son of the Shahenshan-e- Qawwali, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan faced serious criticism in India with his concert to be held on April 30, 2016, was opposed by the right-wing groups like Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Shiv Sena.

He was even deported from India’s Hyderabad airport to Abu Dhabi. The highly acclaimed Pakistani singer also faced heavy penalties after he and his entourage were allegedly caught carrying $124,000 in undeclared cash at the New Delhi’s airport.


Here’s what the Pakistani singers have to say about India…..


Pakistani classical singer Shafqat Amanat Ali feels that such things have to be overlooked and the main focus should be on music which is indeed the one positive element that brings the two nations closer.  In an interview with TOI, he had said, “Music is the one bond that has remained between India and Pakistan despite everything, and I hope that it stays that way. When it comes to cricket or other areas, things tend to get a little heated at times, but music works. There’s some degree of interdependence there.”


In an interview with TOI, when Pakistani singer, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, was asked about the reason for not performing in India after 2011, he said, “The loss was on account of the fact that my fans suffered, as I did not do shows here. I used to enjoy performing in India so much that I don’t enjoy even in Pakistan. The level of satisfaction of a performance I get singing in India, I get nowhere else “kyun ki Hindustan key log music ko samajhte hai.”

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