"Art and entertainment industry is a soft target."
"Art and entertainment industry is a soft target."

Shafqat Amanat Ali says he misses performing across the border and it's high time that the ban on Pakistani artists in India is lifted.

In a phone interview with IANS, the singer said that banning the arts is an easy way out for governments of both countries, otherwise trade between them would also have been affected.

"Art and entertainment industry is a soft target. They know that they can't fight back, so just ban it. It is very easy. Otherwise, there is lot of trade that is happening between India and Pakistan," says Shafqat.

Also read: Indian film association bans Pakistani talent from working in India

He expanded, "If you go to the Attari-Wagah border, one can see trucks bringing goods and exchanging goods from both the sides. That import and export business is running full-fledged. People are waiting with their trucks and are off-loading."

"If we stop that, it would lead to chaos. But they know that they if they put a ban on artistes or actors or people who are related to art, they will express themselves through media or social media platforms. Nothing else."

Also read: Indian TV stars are not happy about Pakistan's ban on Indian shows

India banned Pakistani artists almost two and a half years ago after the Uri attacks which consequently led to Shafqat's 2016 Bengaluru concert being cancelled. Since then there has been a tug of war with bans on both sides of the border, however Pakistan has become more relaxed about the ban and is running Indian films on screens.

"If you talk to people who visited Pakistan to support their team in the last India-Pakistan match, (they will say) they went back after a very emotionally charged trip. They were given so much love. And we also received a lot of love, respect and appreciation for our work in India. I miss performing in India and it is high time that they lift the ban," he said.

Shafqat believes there "is a lot of other stuff which we can do positively and we are not doing that."