Some in Pak see Khan's detention due to his Bollywood success

Some in Pak see Khan's detention due to his Bollywood success

Pakistan's iconic singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's detention in India for alleged possession of undeclared foreign currency is being seen by some here as stemming from "professional jealousy" and his success in Bollywood.

Khan was released after being detained at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi along with some members of his entourage for over 20 hours for carrying 1.24 lakh dollars. The news of his detention dominated the Pakistani media and many people expressed their happiness when he was eventually released yesterday.

"Back home, people say that the singer has been given a raw deal," 'The Express Tribune' newspaper reported. The report quoted Pakistani singers and actors as unanimously condemning Khan's detention.

They contended that Khan had not snatched the money "from anyone but had actually earned it after doing nearly 12 shows in India".

"Many Pakistanis believe that Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has been trapped by a certain lobby in India (in a move) that stems from professional jealousy because the singer has been doing so well in Bollywood, especially with the recent awards he received at the Filmfare Awards," the report said.

Law Minister Babar Awan, a confidant of President Asif Ali Zardari, took a dig at India, saying that Khan's detention had proved that love songs were meant for singing and no one could eliminate the Partition of India through songs.

Ustad Badar-uz-Zaman, a recipient of the Pride of Performance award, said, "Rahat is a thorough gentleman. I know him since his first performance in 1983. He doesn't know these cunning tactics that have been used to trap him. If some artistes in India want him to fail they should do it through competitive work and not by using such tactics".

He added, "This is an effort to sabotage relationships between Pakistan and India. Whenever an artiste from the two countries visits it helps improve ties. Look at the way we treat Indian artistes when they visit Pakistan".

He claimed that a "certain lobby doesn’t want Pakistani artistes to excel in the Indian entertainment industry". Yousuf Salahuddin, a leading socialite of Lahore, believed Khan’s detention was inappropriate.

"Indian authorities could confiscate the money but shouldn't have arrested him. When Jagjit Singh came here, he also took Rs 10 million with him this way. So this happens.

"If Rahat had been doing this for awhile, authorities should have given him a warning. He has been a frequent visitor. The sad thing is that he has been arrested just after he won several awards and hence, rivals in India," he said. Tongues wagged in the virtual world too, with some tweeting that Khan never went to school and hence did not know about taxes.

"Dimaag to bachcha hai ji", read a tweet, a take on "Dil to bachcha hai ji/Thoda kaccha hai ji", the song for which Khan picked up a Filmfare Award.
Khan’s wife Nida said she had spoken to her husband and he was doing fine.

"This issue will settle soon," she said.

The singer was released after the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi gave a "seizure memo", a guarantee letter that the singer would not leave India till he is cleared for violating "excise laws".

Khan's passport has been retained by Indian authorities and he has been asked to reappear before the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence on February 17. Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit was hopeful that Khan would be back home soon.

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