Noted Pashto folk singer Hashmat Sahar has asked artists and singers to return to their motherland to spread the message of peace among people through their art.
In a chat with this scribe here on Sunday on his return from a musical concert in Australia, he said that he did not stay there despite having offers.
He said that the artists and singers living abroad should return to serve their homeland through their talent.
“My own land and people are everything for me and my family. The people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including artists have suffered a lot but leaving country would serve no purpose,” said the singer.
Hashmat Sahar and his colleague Maaz Khan had been invited to Australia by the Afghan community to perform on the occasion of Jashn-i-Nauroz.
He said that some Pakhtun immigrants in Australia offered him to seek asylum if he faced any threats but he declined their request and instead preferred to return to his homeland.
Without naming anyone, the singer that staying back of a few artists and singers abroad in the name of security threats brought a bad name to the country.
“How I can serve my people if I seek asylum on a foreign land. We should love and respect our own art and culture, serving it would earn us identity and more respect,” he said.
Recipient of numerous awards, Mr Sahar has been to Gulf States and Afghanistan on several occasions and enjoys widespread fame for his art of singing.
Hailing from district Hangu, he has been in the field for the 15 years and known for his quality work.
He said that artists and singers being cultural ambassadors should represent a soft image of their country and Pakhtuns at large while using their art.
“I have learnt basics of music from Maaz Khan Ustad and Saida Gul Maina. All my ustads love their own land and people.
“I also request my other artists and singers, who have been living abroad, to come back to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as peace and stability had returned. I don’t want to take the name of any particular artist or singer but I just say and strongly believe that a fish cannot live without water so an artist, a genuine artist, would never do it,” he said.
About future plans, he said that he had started work on hit numbers and would launch his YouTube channel because he has a huge following.
He said artists and singers had no threats from anyone and should spread the message of peace.
Originally published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2019