ISLAMABAD – Salman Ahmad, famous Pakistani singer and an active member of Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf, was arrested and later released on Friday, local media reported.
He was arrested from outside Imran Khan’s Bani Gala residence. Video footage showed the singer being dragged by Islamabad police into a police van.
Just before his arrest, Ahmed had tweeted, “Getting ready for Jazba Junoon.”
— salman ahmad (@sufisal) October 28, 2016
Salman’s arrest comes as PTI and Awami Muslim League (AML) workers clashed with police at Rawalpindi’s Committee Chowk near the Lal Haveli residence of Sheikh Rasheed.
Police fired teargas shells at Committee Chowk to disperse the party workers from gathering following the imposition of Section 144 in the twin cities.
Law enforcers laid siege to the Bani Gala residence of Imran Khan late Thursday night hours after a crackdown was launched against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf supporters. The opposition party responded by announcing nationwide protests against what it called ‘terrorism’ of the government.
Police detained dozens of PTI workers – including women – for violating Section 144 which the administration had imposed in the morning. Television footage showed police scuffling with Imran’s supporters before bundling them into prison vans and whisking them away.
PTI has been prepping up for its Islamabad lockdown show on November 2 over the issue of Panama leaks which detailed offshore companies of ruling Sharif family members. PTI also holds PM Nawaz Sharif and his family members responsible for rising corruption in the country, a claim PML-N (the ruling party) denies.
The federal and Punjab governments, led by the Pakistan Muslim League, has already decided to be tough with any kind of agitation in the twin cities.
Salman Ahmad has performed in PTI public gatherings several times since the party started its mass-level public contact campaign months before 2013 general elections.
An active member of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Salman believes in PTI’s call for bringing justice and accountability in the corridors of powers.
He started his music career with Vital Signs, but left after their debut album due to creative differences. In 1990, Ahmad formed Junoon, South Asia’s biggest and longest-lasting rock band, along with Ali Azmat. After Junoon’s international acclaim and success, Ahmad reached new heights, which included being an ambassador for peace with numerous international awards under his belt.
He also played an important role in raising funds and awareness for the massive earthquake that hit Pakistan in October, 2005. In September 2006, Ahmad was personally invited by former US President Bill Clinton to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative panel in New York on September 21, which featured many other prominent guests such as Bill Gates, Pervez Musharraf, Queen Rania, and others.
Ahmad and his band Junoon suffered political censorship in Pakistan during the rule of Benazir Bhutto in 1990s, partly due to a song denouncing political corruption. In 1998 during the rule of Nawaz Sharif, Junoon was again banned in Pakistan, because they protested against the nuclear power tests in India as well as their own country by saying, “Why escalate the arms race when people still need water? Why see our neighbors as enemies when we are so close to each other?”
Ahmad denounced the Pakistani Government’s peace accord with Taliban in 2008 saying that “artists in Pakistan take their inspiration from Sufism, the tolerant and inclusive strain of Islam that is the antithesis of the beliefs of the Taliban.