An effort to ban hip-hop music in Pakistani schools has instead turned into a lesson in tolerance in a nation where religious fundamentalism has been on the rise.
In late January, Pakistan’s Punjab Assembly passed a resolution to end “objectionable” music concerts in public and private schools. But the measure was widely repudiated in the media for impinging on free creative expression.
“What’s next? A resolution seeking a ban on wearing jeans in academic institutions?” one assembly member asked during the ensuing debate.
A few days after it passed, the measure was overturned. The abrupt about-face highlights the sometimes tense balance in Pakistan between a youth culture raised on a constant diet of YouTube and Facebook and conservative Pakistanis willing to curb certain freedoms for the sake of tradition and cultural integrity.
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