Pakistani Song Honors Sacrifices of Our Heroes like Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti. By Saadia Haq
Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, a name that no one is Pakistan cannot forget nor can afford to forget. In his life and death, he left a legacy of working for the equal inclusion of Pakistani minorities into the mainstream society. The slain minorities’ minister life ended in 2011 in an assassination in the heart of the capital, Islamabad in broad day light.
Bhatti was an open critic of anti-minorities’ laws, his journey from minority rights campaigner to politician happened for the sake of the "oppressed, down-trodden and marginalized" of Pakistan. He paid the price for creating uproar in a country under Wahabi zealots and today his killer goes free unknown to us, still uncaught though the Tehrik-i-Taliban group claimed responsibility.
The world of literature has paid tribute to Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, in different forms and recently in 2016 he was honored by a local Urdu song ‘Kithay Reh Gaye.’ Sung by Ali Aftab Saeed ‘Kithay Reh Gaye’ comes under the banner of the 'Gao, Suno Badlo' initiative spearheaded by platforms Mishermayl and Aawaaz.
Gao Suno Badlo is a national musical initiative aiming to promote music for highlighting the prevailing contradictions in our society and to sensitize the masses for changing their behaviors.
This particular song depicts the reality of minorities that live in daily fear in their own home nation. The dramatization of the song has an eerie feel as the video opens with a woman and two men representing minority faith groups frozen in time as they try to flee from an angry mob with batons and bricks. Such events are quite a norm if you are a Pakistani, trust me on that.
The viewers see Ali, the singer in green with a speakerphone as he addresses the crowd through the thought provoking lyrics with bitter take on the various attacks on different religious minorities. The song shows how present day Pakistan is fractured due to the widespread persecution and hate among its own people. It provokes the listeners towards self-reasoning of the discriminatory attitudes towards the faith based minorities and their rights as citizens of the same nation.
Moreover, 'Kithay Reh Gaye promotes a strong sense of minority rights and their under appreciation by the country. It questions our hesitation to honor the minorities’ contributions towards this country in different fields despite the existing negativity.
Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti’s image is shown nearing the end of the song, along with some other known minority workers as a tribute to the white in the flag and pay homage to the sacrifices of the incredible work done by minorities for Pakistan.
The song leaves us with a powerful message of how important the minorities are to Pakistan and how their efforts have contributed significantly to the country. It was released on the fourth death anniversary of the late minorities’ minister and received 9,200 hits on the day of its release.
This alone shows that Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti continues to live inside the hearts of the Pakistani people. This track has received widespread acclaim and positive reviews from journalists, human rights activists, celebrities and politicians.
Today Mr. Bhatti is no longer with us, but he watches down from the Heavens as his country people take his mission forward for the rights and betterment of minorities. His assassination has been a turning point for Pakistan as it raises the uncomfortable question mark about the State writ and its ability to project and safeguard its citizens.
What a beautiful tribute to a son of the soil and a true hero, Shahbaz Bhatti. Bravo!