Sufi folk rock band The Sketches is dropping out of the Lux Style Awards.
The band, which has been nominated in four categories (Best Song, Best Playback Singer, Best Original Soundtrack and Singer Of The Year), has said it has decided to withdraw from the LSA race in a press statement on Tuesday night. Their decision follows the withdrawal of model Eman Suleman, clothing brand Generation, makeup artist Saima Bargfrede and singer Meesha Shafi.
"Our reason is simply based on our values and principles, which, we will not bend for any award," said the band in its statement.
Talking about its desire to support Pakistan's #MeToo movement, the band said, "What started as just one voice, has now become a wave. Women all around the world have been standing up to build a peaceful world free of toxic masculinity, sexism, and sexual harassment.
"Even after being silenced, threatened, mistreated, and judged, women in Pakistan are rising too. They are stepping down from LSA because they stand with survivors of sexual harassment. Without passing judgment on any individual's character, the band considers it our responsibility to applaud & encourage these brave women to speak and be heard."
The band further emphasised its support to harassment victims, saying, "The Sketches remains a vibrant voice for the subjugated and victimised. Our audiences and fans have witnessed songs like Meena, Bhora Marham, Raat, and An Ode to a Liberated Woman, which were inspired by the same principles. Today, we have become a voice for the marginalised, especially of victims of sexual harassment, and we stand in support of all survivors of gender based violence."
The Sketches were also critical about the inclusion of an alleged sexual harasser in the LSA nominees, "We will collectively stand together to challenge the current social norm that sexual abuse and misconduct can be swept under the carpet for an award or a few minutes of fame. The moment stands as a question mark for all individuals and organisations to decide whether they stand with the oppressed or the oppressor.
"As artists and more so human beings, we strive through our art, to build a more respectful and just society. We cannot do this if we put our conscience aside for cash or credits. We hold no personal grudge or bias against LSA and its attendees."
Read the band's full statement here: