Swat dancers, artists planning to return to their homeland

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Karachi, Aug 3 (ANI): Artists and dancers, who fled Swat due to fear of the Taliban, are planning to return to their homeland and light up the streets of Mingora with their enthralling performances.

The streets of Mingora, once known for the richness of the art and natural beauty, lost their charm when the Taliban appeared and banned music and dance in the area describing them as 'un-Islamic'.

Zarmeena, 27, at her three-room flat in Banaras in Karachi, decorated with musical instruments and pictures of her homeland Swat valley, is preparing to return to her war-torn native area.

"My family members in Swat say that the place is peaceful now and the barbaric people (Taliban) have been flushed out," she says.

Zarmeena is one of the dozens of artists, who migrated to Karachi after the sudden appearance of the Taliban in the once culturally and artistically rich Swat area. Foreigners used to enjoy dance and musical nights in Mingora before moving to other parts of the green valley of Swat, the Daily Times reports.

"Now the situation is much different. Previously they would hang musicians and artists in the streets but this time it would be safe to return," she says.

"I cannot live without Mingora...I learnt this art over there and my sister [Shabana] died at the hands of terrorists," the middle-aged performer says.

"I hope the situation will improve and we will return to Mingora within a month," she hopes.

One of the three rooms of her flat has been reserved for clients, whereas the other two are for personal use, and are filled with luggage as she claims the flat was too small as compared to their house in the Banar Bazaar of Mingora.

The artists of Mingora would not only entertain foreigners, but were famous all across the province for their dance and singing. Usually, well-off families of the province and the neighbouring Punjab province would hire their services for weddings and other parties. (ANI)

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