Lahori artistes battle Taliban barbarity with their music, humour and drama

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Lahore, July 29 (ANI): The jam-packed theatre hosting the Lahore International Arts Festival has testified that the spirit of Lahoris has survived last year's bombing at the event by the Taliban.

While the Taliban continue to terrorise every section of society, Pakistani artistes are striking back with the only weapons they have - drama, music and above all humour. And the public are responding well, the Daily Times reports.

Lahoris walked through the debris, some bringing babies and small children, in defiance of the threat.

Following the arts festival bombing, the Taliban had targeted a cafe owned by the Peerzada family who stage the festival, and theatres across the city in coordinated overnight raids.

"This is the moment people need the arts, need music to relax. This is the moment that people need to see drama," said Usman Peerzada, the organiser.

Salman Shahid, who has a popular TV chat show, says that every time people go out for the evening, there is a danger that was not there a couple of years ago.

"Somewhere at the back of your mind there is a thought that you are taking a bit of a risk," he said.

The windows broken in the bomb attack had still not been repaired at the front of the theatre, and Pakistan's biggest screen stars are playing parts under poor lighting and makeshift scenery. Yet, they are not bogged down.

Comedian Younis Butt has launched a show in a bid to ridicule the Taliban threat.

"It is the best form of fighting terrorism to expose them, so that normal people will have no sympathy for them. That is only way we can isolate them, then we can fight them," he said.

Butt says his lampooning of US policy has drawn complaints from Americans, too. But he believes that if he is getting strong protests from both the US and the Taliban, he is fulfilling his function as a safety valve for a society that needs to laugh.(ANI)

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