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Ghazala Javed and father buried
Singer and father were shot to death in Peshawar June 18
By Ashfaq Yusufzai
PESHAWAR – Beloved Pashtu singer Ghazala Javed, 29, was buried in her ancestral graveyard in Mingora, Swat, June 19, amid outpourings of grief from family and fans.
Police accuse her former husband, Jahangir Khan, of shooting her in the Dabgari Garden, an old section of Peshawar, June 18. Javed was emerging from a beauty parlour when two armed men on a motorbike opened fire, killing her and her father, Muhammad Javed. Her sister, Farhat Javed, escaped injury.
Hundreds of mourners attended her funeral and prayed for her soul.
“She died before being rushed to the hospital,” Dr. Muhammad Ihsan of Lady Reading Hospital said. “She sustained multiple injuries from six bullets.”
Ex-husband prime suspect
Javed married Jahangir, a real estate dealer, in 2010. But the marriage lasted only six months. Jahangir is the prime suspect and remains at large, Superintendent of Police Asif Iqbal said.
“Still, we are looking at the (possible) involvement of Taliban militants who in the past have threatened musicians and singers,” City Police officer Asif Iqbal said.
Javed began her career as a dancing girl in 2003, and reached the spotlight in 2008 when she began singing. She quickly drew crowds to her concerts, helped by her glamour. During her brief career, she shared the microphone with vocalists like Rahim Shah and Gulzar Alam. Javed entertained Pashtuns abroad with her tours to Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and other countries.
But her 2010 marriage interrupted her career.
“Her husband stopped her from singing, which saddened her a great deal,” her sister Farhat told Central Asia Online. “She used to say that music was her passion and that she couldn’t survive without it.”
Javed’s marriage to Jahangir proved a disaster, and she sought a divorce after complying with his demand she give up singing. “Her marriage was on the rocks from day one,” Farhat said. “Only six months ago, she had started singing again.”
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain condemned her killing and ordered an inquiry. “Her killers would not remain at large for too long as the police would arrest them soon,” he said June 19.
Farhat has lodged a First Investigation Report against three persons: Jahangir, Nasir Khan and Salam Khan Afridi. “We were coming to Nishtarabad locality, where Ghazala was recording a song for a new Pashtu film,” she said. “Before going to the parlour, she went to Nishtarabad to see the arrangements.”
"The complainant Farhat Javed, sister of the deceased singer, had nominated people in the FIR, and now police have no doubt about the involvement of anyone else in the case," investigating officer Aslam Khan, an inspector at Sha Qabool Police Station, said.
Javed is best remembered for the songs “Mena Darogh De Janan Ho Lag Rasha Kana,” “Nara Nara Baran De,” and “Juda Rana Janan De.” Her latest song, “Meena Ba Kaoo Jana,” recently appeared in CD stalls. She had been planning to launch a new album.
Unlike many singers who fled the country to escape the music-hating Taliban or suffered at their hands, Javed appears to have become the victim of a failed marriage. She fled to Peshawar in 2009 as the military cracked down on the Taliban in Swat, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Nisar Muhammad Khan, former director of the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation Peshawar Centre, expressed his sorrow. “She had immense love for music,” he recalled. “She used to sing in wedding ceremonies in neighbourhoods when she was just seven.”
She deserved much appreciation for staying in Swat until 2009, even as the Taliban brutalised performers, he said. Heartbroken fans condemned her slaying and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.
“I regularly listen to her melodious songs,” Gul Ghutai, an eighth-grade student at the University Model School, University of Peshawar, told Central Asia Online. “She sang from the heart, going straight to the listeners’ hearts and minds.” Javed had a humble character but great beauty, she added.
Performers will not be deterred by such incidents, said Javid Babar, president of the Artists Welfare Association Zoom.
“We have been facing the wrath of the Taliban for a long time,” he said. “But we are determined to entertain people.”
“Ghazala was a huge entertainer, and she would remain alive for ever,” he said. “Not only her fair complexion but the way she sang, created thousands of fans.” In 2009, another singer, Ayman Udas, was killed in Peshawar, allegedly by her brothers because they objected to her singing career.