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Four female artistes banned over dance

LAHORE: Punjab Home Department on Thursday imposed ban on four female artistes – Saima Chaudhry, Ghazal Raja, Sonia Shehzadi and Mahi Butt of Sitara Theatre over performing obscene dance. However, the ban on Sonia Shehzadi and Mahi Butt was ended after their appeals were accepted.

According to documents available with The News, Additional Deputy Commissioner Headquarters (ADC) monitored Sitara Theatre and reported Home Department that all four female artistes violated the SOPs.

The document said that all the female artists performed on a song at the same time which was not allowed and the dance performance approved by the Censor Rehearsal Panel was violated. The document said that the gestures of artistes were also highly vulgar during the dance.

In the documents, ADC HQ stated that as per monitoring reports with regard to stage performance, Sitara Theatre was involved in spreading obscenity/vulgarity by objectionable dance performances of female artists. Despite clear instructions from DC office, the management of the theatre failed to amend its behaviour and continuously violated the prescribed SOPs.

He recommended that a complete ban may be imposed on all the above-mentioned artistes for a period of six months and licence of the theatre may also be suspended. Furthermore, Punjab Council of Arts, Lahore and deputy commissioner Lahore also received reports about the obnoxious activities of Sitara Theatre.

Written replies were sought from theatre owner Haji Shafique and his son Hafiz Sajjad by Home Department. Shafique told during personal hearing that he had sublet the theatre to Sakhi Sarwar who had further sublet it to Tahir Abbas. According to documents, Haji Shafique could not produce any valid document in support of his stance.

The four artistes were called for personal hearing out of which three namely Sonia Shehzadi, Ms Mahi Butt and Saima Chaudhary appeared and submitted their written statements on January 1, 2022. They confessed that they performed obscene/vulgar activities on the stage of Sitara Theatre on 13-12-2022.

Ms Sonia stated that she had performed according to the directions of Malik Tariq, the producer. Ms Mahi disclosed that she had also performed on the directives of Malik Tariq who had threatened them that if they did not perform with obscene acts their payment would be stopped. Ms Saima Ch stated that she performed on the direction of Malik Tahir and Tariq, and it was all in the knowledge of Haji Shafique.

The authorities lodged four FIRs against Haji Shafique on the violation of SOPs and the permission to his theatre for carrying out theatrical activities. Shafique submitted an application against this ban but his application was rejected as found devoid of merits and unsatisfactory.

Source: The News