Art and culture is an image of a society and artists performing it makes this image colorful and together it tells us how lively a society is. Since it became an industry, along with some perks, it has some darkness as well.

Artists working internationally are considered ambassadors of their countries in the world. They significantly help building the country’s image in outer world by their work but sometimes they are also subject to controversies mainly because of politics.

Pakistani artists along with working locally worked internationally as well and are a big part of entertainment industry in neighboring India. From singers to actors and comedians they worked greatly in India. But whenever there is some hostility between the two neighboring nations, they at once come on radars of extremists there and demands are made for their boycott in India.

Previously it was only restricted to extremists but now it seems like extremists are everywhere in India and sane voices are decreasing greatly in so-called secular India.

In India it’s a long established tradition of linking Pakistan with every terrorist attack and Indian govt and media at once start blaming Pakistan and raise anti-Pakistan sentiments in general public and then the politicians’ statements add more fuel to this hatred.

In recent years specifically when Pathankot and Uri attacks happened, anti-Pakistan sentiments were at rise in India and it reached to peak after the Pulwama attack earlier this year. Pakistani artists were banned after these attacks amid pressure from extremists group. This time it was not just extremist Hindu organizations but many others from various fields also demanded the same. It even included Indian artists and celebrities this time.

Now it’s that Pakistani artists and their promoters are also facing the same situation and this is being done at government level in India that authorities are making promoters cancel the events of Pakistani artists and the Indian artists working with Pakistani promoters are also made to cancel the events. Recently it all happened with Atif Aslam’s shows. Mika Singh also came under stern criticism for doing a show in Karachi and associations boycotted him for that and he was made to apologize.

Besides the hyper nationalist sentiments of Indians, Pakistani artists are attacked for not condemning Pakistan as these hyper nationalists think that it’s Pakistan behind all these. Moreover they are also made to realize that they got name and fame here and India is doing a great favor to them. While their talent on the basis of which they are working there is totally disregarded.

Pakistani artists on the other hand are also blamed for hypocrisy on not speaking against India especially on Kashmir issue by Pakistani fans. Even if they do it is not considered sufficient to their ultra-nationalist sentiments.

Indian fans also get triggered over Pakistani artists speaking as per country’s narrative and in solidarity with Kashmir. They’re all reminded for India’s favors to them.

However they are not aware of this fact knowingly or unknowingly that those Pakistani artists first got name and fame here in Pakistan and it’s only then that they got work in India. It ain’t any favor but their talent which got them work there.

We came to know about Atif from Aadat and Doorie, Ali Zafar from Channo and Chal Dil Meray, Farhan Saeed from Sajni, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan from Khamaaj, Javed Bashir since Meekal Hassan Band and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan since he used to sing along Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Also it’s not the one sided thing and Indians are not told that their artists too work in Lollywood. In recent years we’ve seen rise in it and from actors to singers and musicians all are seen working in Pakistan. There’s a long list of them working in Pakistan and among them include leading figures from Bollywood like veteran actors Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and others like Kanwaljit Singh, Shehzad Khan etc and singers including Mika Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Shaan, Armaan Malik, Sherya Goshal, Sunidhi Chauhan and Harshdeep Kaur etc. Many other young Indian artists are also being casted by Pakistani directors in their projects.

This fact check is not meant for any comparison but just to make it realize to the people of both the nations that let art and culture prevail and show the world how lively our societies are. It is road to peace as well. It’s not just meant for some extremists across the border but for some elements here also who want to suppress art and culture. It’s also the way out for us to build and enhance the image of our country in the world.

This peace message should not just be one sided and if it is not being reciprocated and they don’t mend their ways then Pakistani authorities should also do the same and boycott Indians at every forum. This should not be at the cost of our country’s sovereignty.