Baluch Twins accuse PISA of discriminating against them, organisers claim 'flight issues' caused problems

Baluch Twins accuse PISA of discriminating against them, organisers claim 'flight issues' caused problems

The musicians weren't able to board a flight to Dubai for the award show despite being nominated for Singer of The Year.
05 Nov, 2021

Lyari-based musicians the Baluch Twins recently accused the Pakistan International Screen Awards (PISA) of discriminating against them by cancelling their plane tickets ahead of the award show in Dubai. The musicians posted a detailed video on their Instagram and narrated their account of events surrounding the ticket cancellation. PISA organisers, however, say the flight was cancelled.

Adil and Asim Baluch, aka the Baluch Twins, rose to fame after their song 'Gharoli-Ghoom Charakhra' on Nescafé Basement became a hit. Their music means to give importance to Baluchi music, which according to brothers, is not yet part of the mainstream music industry. Their songs are meant to revive and portray the unseen perspective of their cultural music.

The PISA Awards are being held in Dubai on November 5 and the Baluch Twins have been nominated by PISA in the Singer Of The Year category alongside Ali Sethi, Aima Baig, Zeeshan Ali and Sunny Khan Durrani.

The duo posted on Instagram recently and accused PISA of "discrimination" after they were unable to board their flight to Dubai on November 4. According to the post, they had been unable to board the flight because their "tickets were deliberately refunded" by the organisers.

Waqas Rizvi from the operations team at PISA told Images that the flight on which the Baluch Twins were due to travel had been cancelled by Emirates because of which the brothers were unable to travel to Dubai. The musicians were asked to look for and book an alternative flight for themselves and told that PISA would reimburse them for the ticket expense.

But Adil Baluch told Images that a coordinator from PISA informed them via text message on November 2 that Emirates had cancelled their flight but did not give any further clarifications or details. The brothers went to the Emirates office in Karachi with their father to confirm the flight status and were told by the staff that the flight had in fact not been cancelled and was going to Dubai as per schedule.

Adil said that the duo asked a friend's father, who is a travel agent, to reconfirm their flight status as well. The brothers were then informed that the system was not showing their booking details and that their tickets might have been refunded.

The brothers arrived at the airport on November 4 to catch their plane nonetheless. Staff at the check-in counter, however, did not allow them to board their flight and said that their tickets had been refunded, Adil said.

It was after their flight had departed that a coordinator from PISA reached out to them and said they could book the next available flight to Dubai themselves. PISA would pay for half the cost of the round trip after they reached Dubai, the singer said. When the Baluch Twins did not agree with suggested course of action, a heated discussion ensued between both parties after which PISA took back their offer of paying halfway and said to get to Dubai by their own means if the brothers wanted to attend the show, Adil explained.

Other PISA attendees on the same flight as the Baluch twins were able to board the plane which then left as per schedule. He named several celebrities who were able to board the plane.

Adil and Asim say they aren't sure why "PISA stopped them". "Is it because we are Baluch or we are from Lyari and are not privileged enough?" they asked in their Instagram video.

According to Rizvi, however, PISA does not have any issue having the Baluch Brothers at the show. He said they were not aware that the brothers were Baluch — despite their names being Asim and Adil Baluch — and thus could not have discriminated against them on that basis to begin with. The PISA representative told Images that the brothers were offered a paid trip to Dubai after the show by PISA as "compensation" for not being able to attend the actual award show.

He said there were several cancelled flights and the ticket prices were very high, so they asked the twins' manager to book their flight themselves as the ticket prices were greater than their budget. He said that the musicians tried to book a flight at a higher price but weren't able to do so.

This isn't the first time controversy has shrouded the PISA Awards. In 2020, the awards came under severe criticism for what PISA described as "teething issues". They ghosted a number of celebrities like Osman Khalid Butt, Usman Mukhtar, Ali Safina, director Saqib Malik, Ahmed Ali Akbar, Teepu Sharif, Nabeel Zafar and Nadia Afghan after inviting them to Dubai for the show. The celebrities said they were initially invited by PISA and nominated in various categories, however, the organisers simply disappeared before the show.