by Cynthia Schneider
Salman Ahmad, Pakistani rock musician and founder of the popular band Junoon (as well as doctor, author, and film maker) explained last Saturday night to the standing room only crowd in the General Assembly of the United Nations that it was the video which pushed him into action. The video, of two men holding down a teenage girl while another beat her, sent by a friend from Pakistan, prompted Ahmad to fly to Pakistan from New York, his adopted home, to find the answer to the question that was tormenting him: “Which was the real Pakistan?”
Was it the country steeped in Sufi traditions of poetry, art, and culture? The country whose verse had cried out for freedom of expression for over one thousand years? Or the country where teenage girls are beaten publicly for alleged crimes of improper behavior?