Atif Aslam calls out harassers mid-concert, tells them to respect women

Atif Aslam calls out harassers mid-concert, tells them to respect women

The singer was forced to stop his concert mid-way to 'rescue' a girl from being harassed.
Updated 16 Jan, 2017

Atif Aslam, Abida Parveen and Asim Azhar performed in Karachi this weekend, but what was meant to be an enjoyable night turned out to be a horrifying experience for many.

The concert, held on January 14, Saturday, was organised by IBA as part of their MUNIK (Model United Nations). Things took a wrong turn due to mismanagement as many gatecrashed the concert.

The crowd was out of control and many women were harassed and molested.

Here are some incidents people shared of the night on Facebook:

Things had become so problematic that during Atif's performance, when some female attendees in the front row were being harassed, the singer stopped his concert mid-way, asked a young woman to be 'rescued' and then told the harraser to behave and respect women, otherwise he'll walk out.

People immediately termed his act heroic:

"It was horrible management," Osama shared with Images.

"The concert was supposed to start at 7.30/8pm, but nobody was allowed to enter the premises till 9pm. They had the gates shut and it was highly disturbing because they were expecting a huge crowd but there was only one small gate to pass through. Families, VIPs, security, everyone was passing through that gate; automatically people were getting harassed and pushed on their way in, and women were getting squished in the middle.

"It took us 45 minutes to enter, and we were one of the lucky ones to make it in first, others had to wait outside for longer."

He continued, "They were short staffed, it was evident they had no arrangement for the crowd, there were no bouncers, very less security. There was a VIP enclosure with short barriers where we were sitting, but 10-15 minutes into Asim Azhar's performance -- the first performance of the night -- we saw that people from the general entry had pushed away the barriers and were making their way into the VIP lounge."

Osama added that they were all seated on couches when a huge rush of people crashed into the VIP area; they ran and made their way straight to the front, closest to the stage. "The VIPs couldn't see anything as they were sitting and all these people were standing. There was total chaos. VJ Ahmed Godil was the host and he continually begged the crowd to back away from the stage as it was messing with the sound system, but nobody listened."

"The concert was supposed to end at 2am, but due to the delay and disorganisation it ended at 2.45am. Many women and families had left by then. Atif's performance started at 1.17am and it was during his show that he stopped and called out one harasser. I personally didn't seen any harassment, I just saw people being pushed. My friends who were outside told me that they saw women being harassed."

"I don't know if the harassment stopped after Atif pointed it out, maybe it did in the front row did but there was a massive crowd and we don't know what was happening back there."

Dua Rashid, one attendee, told Images she was touched by Atif's act.

"Atif was performing after Abida left -- this was around 1.15am -- he was in the middle of a song when he suddenly stopped and so did the music; he bent down to talk to one of the boys in the front row, he still had the mic in his hand and we could all hear him.

He asked the boy something along the lines of, 'Have you never seen a girl before?' or 'Do you have women at home?' and then ordered security to come on stage. On his orders, two security guards immediately came on stage and were ordered by Atif to 'rescue her [the girl],' they pulled the girl up on stage and escorted her down the stairs.

"Atif then addressed the boy again warning him not to engage in such mannerism. He then turned to the crowd and spoke about respecting girls and added that he'd end the concert if we didn't comply to his instructions on respecting women."

Another attendee, Laibah Iftikhar, said: "Atif Aslam said I want to rescue her. He was amazing throughout. It was a mess initially but eventually it worked out really well.

"I think they oversold tickets. We had VIP tickets, but that didn't make a difference because we didn't even have a separate entrance. People just ran in without showing tickets. People were fighting, it was insane."

She added, "It was a disaster, I ended up screaming at an aunty and I NEVER MISBEHAVE with anyone."

Faisal Kapadia also witnessed the harassment at the concert.

"Yep, right in the front there was someone pushing a girl. He stopped the concert, told people to rescue her, and told the guys to behave or he will leave."

"He was quite pissed at the people pushing."

"In the middle of his concert, somebody was pushing some girls in the front row, He stopped the concert and he told his manager Omer, to go rescue the girl and he told the organisers to remove the guys in the front row who were pushing the girls and he told them 'insaan kay bachay bano', and he even asked them 'tumhari maa behnein nahi hain', and if you keep continuing to do this, I'm going to walk off.' That's why people are saying they have such respect for him."

Shahzaib Qureshi, pressed that the issue was due to the organisers' mismanagement.

"I was at Atif's event last night. The timing for the concert was 8pm, and the public was there by 7pm, however the gate had not opened by 9pm, because of which the crowd outside the gate kept increasing and there was pushing and shoving.

"Then there was no one to check the passes, no one's pass got checked. All the people who got inside, entered without a pass, everyone got pushed at the gate. There was a lot of mismanagement, and there was no check for VIP, student or regular passes, everyone was gathered together, all the (grills?) had been broken, the people ran towards the stage, even then people were pushing each other.

"Finally Atif Aslam came, the concert was happening, and then Atif stopped in the middle of his song, There was a boy misbehaving with a girl, so Atif walked towards him while on the stage and told the boy, 'What is this rude behaviour? This woman could be your mother or your sister, this is no tareeqa, do you have no shame?' Then Atif brought the girls on stage and had them sent to a safer place, and then resumed his concert."

"But the mismanagement was alarming."

Many people are of the opinion that the harassment at the concert drives home the need for public events like the upcoming Karachi Eat to implement family- or women-only policies of admission. Organisers of the food festival were widely criticised for not permitting single men or groups of only men from entering its premises. It can be said that organisers' policies appear to have found more justification after the events of Saturday night.

Images has reached out to Atif Aslam and his assistant about the concert and is currently awaiting a response.


imtiaz ali khan Jan 16, 2017 10:51am
Shame on India Pakistan for this mentality.
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jithin Jan 16, 2017 10:56am
The patriarchy is there in the Indian subcontinent culture right from the Post-Vedic times!! Hopefully more and more folks are standing up against it across the countries!! We need more heroes and yes, heroines!! :)
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Sri Jan 16, 2017 10:59am
For once let's not start blaming the western civilisation... Instead let's put out homes in order and teach our sons to behave..
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Kala Jan 16, 2017 10:59am
So many witnesses... WOW!
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Muhammad Jan 16, 2017 11:07am
Then we call ourselves an Islamic country !
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jahaz Jan 16, 2017 11:10am
@imtiaz ali khan Thank you for throwing in India to spice up the situation. Hey, you forgot to add in Nigeria or Namibia just to give it an African taste as well.
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Hoop Jan 16, 2017 11:11am
Good on you, Atif
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ZIA LUCK LUCk Jan 16, 2017 11:13am
India, Bangladesh and Pakistan...same behaviour all the way.
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Indian Jan 16, 2017 11:34am
Very sad :(
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Ayehsa Jan 16, 2017 11:42am
I feel pathetic and unsafe out there because of these low lives now. And Atif Aslam you did a great jon. We need more men like him. And I am immensly happy that trends are changing, women and people are getting aginst these acts (:
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robin Jan 16, 2017 11:47am
And Dear pakistanis.. you were taking a dig at bangalore new year eve incident... guess you guys got the same DNA.. huh..
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asad Jan 16, 2017 11:49am
Sane people avoid and save their daughters, sisters and wife when they are in doubt of their safety and security. But here we see reverse and then complain. It was not a religious duty or question of life and death to attend such events.
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Vish Jan 16, 2017 11:51am
Respect Atif!!
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Jawad Jan 16, 2017 12:01pm
They should have had two separate exsts for women and men. Horrible management.
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Zaid Jan 16, 2017 12:14pm
I was There in the concert it was a disgrace ... Shame on IBA for such pathetic management ...
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Philosopher(from Japan) Jan 16, 2017 12:19pm
Where are we heading??
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mesotwisty Jan 16, 2017 12:20pm
Illiteracy, and misplaced priorities, and social constipation. All causes of generating a frustrated, dangerous generation of men. These same guys will be right and center when it comes to the role of Islam and claim that women should stay at home and will be molested by them otherwise.
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abdulsamad Jan 16, 2017 12:21pm
A very respectful act from from Atif Aslam, we should really learn to respect women in public spaces, as women is a mother, sister, wife and daughter of a man, respect women .
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Syed Jan 16, 2017 12:23pm
No matter how civilized you get, women will always be harassed and molested by men no matter which country, I was in Berlin when I witnessed public molestation of women, I had to hold down two powerful men and calm them down to control their attitude, The tagline is keep men/women separate using partitions at such events, it has nothing to do with Indian/Pakistani`s, Focus on fixing the system rather than individuals, that will have a greater impact.
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JIgnesh Loh Jan 16, 2017 12:29pm
We share common behavior in disaster as well ... We don't Respect Women ... Incredible ... Even Religion can not separate us ... What a bonding ... Yet we hate each other ... and forget that a lot of efforts are required to balance our society ... We are civilized in our own dreams and historical books ... Sad
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zofeen Jan 16, 2017 12:37pm
I'd have preferred better if the security walas pulled up the harasser on the stage and showed the world who he was before throwing him out of the campus?
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Rajat Jan 16, 2017 12:49pm
Pakistan is Islamic state right? And there are peoples who are vocal about Sharia will these males who harassed the women be stoned to death?
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Atta Jan 16, 2017 12:52pm
What a shame that our society (men) are still not mentally mature for a mixed cultural event. Think of your sisters and mothers before you do such an evil act.
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Riz Jan 16, 2017 12:54pm
the same thing happened few days back in Dubai and Atif did the same tyhing,, he left the stage and came back only when the situation was clamdown and did stopped signing in between to request boys to step back and give space to girls and families,, #RespectAtifAslam
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Riz Jan 16, 2017 12:55pm
@imtiaz ali khan sir don't be stereotype,,, this happened just because of very few bad boys,, not every boy in the concert came to molest girls,,, this is called bad management from the organizers,,,
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Jalbani Jan 16, 2017 01:02pm
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Jalbani Jan 16, 2017 01:02pm
@imtiaz ali khan Are you from Afghanistan?
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ghulam hussian Jan 16, 2017 01:26pm
Someone need to learn from this event. The simple question is if there was no proper arrangement / security so why the hell the show happened? Is money everything? One thing should compliance strictly that until unless it is not investigated properly and till actual situation comes out such events should not take place. There should be separate lines for VIP including those women who has no VIP pass or has come with group of friends, single or with family and their seating arrangement should also be segregated. Everything is possible if one is willing to do it.............
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Shiraz Jan 16, 2017 01:27pm
My wife narrated me the story. She was there as guest of AP and hence didn't face the ordeal but witnessed it. It wasn't good to know the first hand account. In contrast, a few weeks ago, we had a Bruce Sprinsteen concert over here, the city where I live, and it was fantastic. The crowd was very well behaved and the organization was superb. In fact Bruce had very good words on both the crowd and the management post concert.
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Calypso Jan 16, 2017 01:36pm
Is someone going to cancel the license of this organiser? I gathered, there were many VIPs. Now some of these many VIPs have some power and probably some sense of responsibility as well. 'Have you never seen a girl before?' or 'Do you have women at home? These comments of Mr. Atif come very near to one of the basic problems of our country. All Pakistani men have seen girls and most have ladies at home. But the fact remains that our society is sexually frustrated. This frustration explodes quickly and violently. This is also valid for our neighbours.
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Farhan Jan 16, 2017 01:44pm
There's a way to manage events and concerts. Even in Europe or the US, organizers ensure that there's enough deterrence in place for anyone misbehaving. The stage perimeter is always surrounded by big burly men. There are multiple bouncers at the gate and security staff doubling as 'ushers' are mingled with the crowds. Of course, it does help that crowds are also more civilized. Overall sounds like a disater of a concert with no planning !
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M Akram Jan 16, 2017 01:44pm
Shameful. This has nothing to do with Western culture. Shows sections of Pakistan society have no respect for other fellow citizens.
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M Akram Jan 16, 2017 01:45pm
I blame the parents.
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Neelam Jan 16, 2017 02:16pm
Nice job Atif. We need more men to speak and up shame such disgusting acts publicly. It's absolutely unacceptable. People come out to enjoy it and these idiots have to spoil it. You should have kicked him out and pulled him up on stage to show his face to the world!
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masood Jan 16, 2017 02:22pm
IBA.., is a maestro is management sciences .., i wonder what actually the organisers have learnt about management. These kinda lusty wolves & dogs are everywhere around us,' you got to have some responsibility , some sort of common senseif you are there studying first world management sciences in third world country & not being able to assess the past.... Absolutely Disgusting # Respect Women
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Zahoor ayubi Jan 16, 2017 02:46pm
Ok boss
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Philosopher(from Japan) Jan 16, 2017 03:04pm
It happens when you adopt western culture without knowing the deep ties of it. Open concert (mix gender) are quite common in the western world or first world where women rights are strongly protected. If we see the huge concerts of Michael Jackson an enormous audience of women attended but not heard a single report of such nature. The reason is not the western men are more sophisticated or well behaved but the western law provides the protection to women. In Japan, even at midnight if any girl is going/ coming from anywhere nobody dares to taunt her let alone harassment because the laws are strict and custodian of laws are quick to take action against culprits. In Indo-Pak culture such laws are not implemented in letter n spirit therefore such mishaps do happen as it happened in India recently.
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Muhammad Jan 16, 2017 03:52pm
@robin u r right we have the same DNA that's why even u guys come on various forums and leave no stone unturn to taunt Pakistan on her backwardness and poverty given the fact that there are more ppl living below poverty line in your country then the entire population of Pakistan. It's a general indo pak mindset, we don't look at our ills and are more then happy to point out other's
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IMTIAZ ALI KHAN Jan 16, 2017 03:57pm
Yes I'm aware that India has a rape/molestation problem or shall I say pandemic, but I don't do blame game on either side. I try to work against the forces of hate and create love but being fair towards my people, be it India or Pakistan. One has to be fair when it come to facing problems and Pakistan has a problem, when it come unfair treatment of our women. Shanti. @jahaz Lahori food had a lot of spice in it too ;) @ Jalbani I like Afghani naan and Chai for breakfast sometimes. Sangay!
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Muneer Ahmed Jan 16, 2017 04:09pm
act of individual cannot be generalized. However, organizers must make contingent plans. Previously, there was accident in Punjab where only one entry and exit gate was reserved in the concert/stage drama. also for the sake of profit do not sell tickets beyond available seats.
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muhammad amir ismail Jan 16, 2017 04:10pm
Same thing was happened in Dubai last Friday. Atif Aslam rescued the women.Informed the guy you don't have sister' & mother in your home. Atif Aslam really a nice guy. He always do the respect & care of women
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Faiza mirza Jan 16, 2017 05:02pm
@jahaz nope. India is good enough as men there are popular for harassing women also. A person who cannot respect a woman and a woman who cannot respect a man, a time will come when the world will not respect that individual.
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Faiza mirza Jan 16, 2017 05:03pm
@robin we do unfortunately. U dont forget that next time u try n make it seem as if india is some first world country.
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Talha Jan 16, 2017 05:24pm
I believe the problem is not that there are too many illiterates in Pakistan. I think the educated lot is full of materialism and hypocrisy. I have organized such an MUN conference in the past and I know that the organizers who are university students themselves don't do it to help improve people's public speaking skills but do it so that they could make big profits and they do! Why did not the MUNIK management spend a little extra to have security. Even last year there were news of foreign delegates getting mistreated by the management and this is a new low! With a strong security team the rowdy elements should have been thrown out there and then and an example could have been made out of them but sadly it wasn't the case.
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PUmA Jan 16, 2017 05:26pm
The sad part is that men have somehow internalized all of this. We have accepted that if a woman were to come in a space occupied by men she becomes public property. This has been a common trait in most post-agriculture based societies. Once domestication started men started seeing living organisms as objects. It began with plants (wheat) , then animals ,and finally women. They were seen as a resource. Her main purpose was/is to bear children. Now it has finally extended to men as well. That is why we call them "HUMAN RESOURCE". There is no safe space anymore. Show weakness and you will be punished.
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PG Jan 16, 2017 06:24pm
@asad stop it! Shows your mentality. Teach your sons and brothers to behave and respect women. Hiding or suffocating women is not an option.
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AHMAD Jan 16, 2017 06:28pm
we have crossed all limits in the name of entertainment ... when men and women will mix up this is what you will get ... I would never allow my daughters or sisters visit such a place. As a developing country ,,, do we need this ... we need our energy and our talent spent on relief work : - on helping people suffering drought in thar region ... - on helping internally displaced people with food and shelter and clothes ... - what for we spend money with over 300 suicides in thar region last year mostly due to drought ... can we not go to them and give them support ... - i beg my new generation to please change your thoughts and your ambitions ... gear them towards helping those who really need it. - Go and visit some poor people in a village and say we are here to help you ... come take food, come take clothes, come take medicines. - this wooo wooo is not gonna help me or you or anyone ... what you get is only an assault for free ...
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Aq Jan 16, 2017 06:45pm
Indeed he has done a great thing.? But you and we people don't realize why it happened? Do we talk about why it happened? Off course one major reason, 'parents' who allow their kids to attend such functions. And secondly our religious authorities wjo knew these things have nothing to do with in our islam. Does anybody speaks about them.? And third if they allowed, where are the organizers, do they don't have families?or they have no shame one day their family members could face such incidents.? Think over it.
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asad Jan 16, 2017 06:53pm
@PG I am not supporting these animals, only highlighted that parents, brothers and husbands should consider safety and security of daughters, sisters and wife of paramount importance and if they doubt it then should avoid sending them to such mix gatherings else they should not complain. I am convinced that it is an animal act done by perverts.
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Futurewizard Jan 16, 2017 06:53pm
@asad wow, now you are blaming victim.
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Payal Queshi Jan 16, 2017 06:54pm
@robin absolutely!
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Imran Jan 16, 2017 07:17pm
Women were never harassed in 80s and 90s when the wore modest clothes. Just a thought.
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Gp65 Jan 16, 2017 08:43pm
@asad so are you saying women can only get out of the house for religious duty or life or death matter? Do they not have a right to enjoy themselves? Way to go blaming the victim.
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Umair Jan 17, 2017 11:37am
un civilized people ! they will follow rules in other countries but not here in pakistan..
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Ali Jan 17, 2017 11:38am
@AHMAD respect and totally agreed with every single word of yours
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Ali Jan 17, 2017 11:41am
Because we are leaving the roots so no wonder we would be facing worst. Still have time to know the limits and roots.
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HEMANT KULKARNI Jan 17, 2017 12:14pm
this is real Pakistan,,, i appreciate the real face comes out .. otherwise everything is brushed under carpet.. wow great pakistan... and many more such incidents will make her even more great...
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Carpe Jan 18, 2017 12:18pm
Why you bring India into every thing. Mind your country and yourselves. I'm from southern India I don't think anything in common.
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Tahir Lone Jan 19, 2017 06:37am
If this happened in India, it wouldn't figure as concern to most people as it's such a normal thing. Maybe it wouldn't even be reported ?! Pak society must encourage the narrative that this behaviour is evil and appropriate religiously approved messages to society through media and government mosques. We aren't as bad as some of our neighbours but we must fix this problem.
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Fatima Jabeen Jan 19, 2017 09:24am
As if this happened in a remote village....................educated men are so frustrated, they should be expelled or harassed in the same way...........................................Women should have had a separate enclosure.
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