LONDON: In solidarity with the victims of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine blast, people from different communities performed to the beat of drums in the compound of School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London.
“You may agree or disagree with those who visit shrines, but the fact remains that millions throng to these shrines every year and find solace there,” Yasmin Whittaker-Khan of Insaan Culture Club, who organised the event along with other activists, said while talking to Geo News. “Those who attacked the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar want to deprive millions of Pakistanis and others of their happiness.”
However, she added, they cannot allow terrorists to succeed. “We are making a stand in London to extend support to those Pakistanis who are standing in the face of extremism, and to support pluralism and humanity.” She said they intended to tell the affected people and families that they are not alone.
Participants of the event included students, professionals and rights activists, from various backgrounds, including Hindu and Sikh communities.
They performed dhamaal to express their devotion to the Sufi tradition and to remember the over 88 people who were killed in the bomb blast at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar on February 16.
The event organisers also raised funds for the people injured in the blast.
Drums were beaten as participants swirled and swayed to show spiritual liberation the Sufi tradition of dhamaal brings with it. With red scarves around their necks, they moved to the tune of Dama Dam Mast Qalandar for over three hours. They said the terrorists should not be given the chance to deprive Pakistan of its vibrant Sufi culture.
They also shouted slogans and called on the government of Pakistan to take action against terrorists who have been frequently attacking shrines. They said Pakistani authorities have a lot to explain and must answer why terrorist attacks continue. The rights activists said that some of the most well-known extremists and their banned organisations are allowed to operate which is a disservice to the memory of martyrs who have given their lives while fighting the menace of terrorism.