Lahore: The world famous dhol player Pappu Saeen has been allowed to resume performing on the premises of Shah Jamal shrine after a six-month ban by the Auqaf Department.
The department had banned Saeen in July 2009 on reports that drug users were among his audience every Thursday night. Another reason which led to the end of his decade-long reign at the shrine is terror threats, following the attack on Rehman Baba’s shrine in Peshawar.
Saeen, who has performed throughout the Muslim world and even taken his Sufi-style music to Germany, Switzerland, and Britain, has now been allowed to resume his mesmerising performances, albeit with a few restrictions.
Fans of his unique style are eagerly looking forward to converging on the Shah Jamal shrine today to witness his glorious comeback.
Waheed Khalid, a regular visitor and a professional photographer, told Daily Times that he was extremely happy to hear of Saeen performing again, and that he was an ardent fan of mystic music. He mentioned that the ban on drug use is implemented strictly – people are not even allowed to smoke inside the arena where Pappu performs. He opined that placing restrictions on such an iconic performer was a bad idea, which contributed to the overall cultural loss for Pakistan along with the threat of terrorism.
Other fans of Saeen called him an international phenomenon who has tirelessly promoted a soft image of Pakistan across the globe, with the likes of other mystic music greats such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Saeen told Daily Times he was really happy for the visitors who thronged the venue every Thursday night to watch him perform, and added that he is doing the duty assigned to him by his ancestors, “who can choose to take it back” whenever they desire.
He also said his ancestors had always strived to promote a message of peace through their activities, and their primary duty was to ensure that people from all walks of life come together as equals.
Saeen has also played with several leading bands in the country, and won a number of prestigious awards, including Sitara-e-Imtiaz from the government of Pakistan.