Monday, February 14, 2011

Music fraternity support Rahat Ali Khan

While Pakistan has initiated hectic efforts to secure the release of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, who was detained at the IGI airport in Delhi on Sunday by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), after he and two of his troupe members were caught carrying 1.24 lakh USD (about `60 lakh) in undeclared foreign currency, singers and musicians from the music fraternity say that the man deserves to be treated with respect.

Rahat, who was on his way to Lahore via Dubai, was questioned at length by the DRI. According to law, a foreign national cannot carry more than USD 5,000 in cash and 5,000 USD in other forms. The person has to declare the amount if he is carrying more than this to the customs department. Foreign secretary Salman Bashir called Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad, Sharat Sabarwal, and discussed the matter around midnight Sunday. He requested the Indian envoy to ensure that "no official should misbehave with Rahat during interrogation." More than $100,000 was recovered from the 15-member troupe. After over six hours of interrogation by customs officials, Rahat was formally arrested and was presented in a court Monday morning. Bashir also called up the Pakistani High Commissioner to India, Shahid Malik, and directed him to "take immediate steps for securing release of Rahat". "The matter should be taken up formally with Indian foreign office," he insisted, adding that "contact with Indian authorities for updates in the case must be maintained throughout." Rahat's brother-in-law said, "We are yet to establish any proper contact with the authorities in India, although Rahat spoke briefly to his wife and asked her to remain hopeful of a positive outcome". Singers and musicians insist that while the airport authorities should do their job, a man of his stature and lineage should be treated with respect.

Anyone, be it a musician or politician, who is doing something illegal, should be held accountable. Having said that, we don't know much about Rahatji's case, it can be that these were only performance fees. The thing with us musicians is that at times we don't know the rules. So, it might be a case of performance money that might be unaccounted for. I assume it's a case of ignorance. And if the payment has come from legal sources, there shouldn't be a problem.
–Subir Malik, Parikrama

Cops are supposed to do their job. But you should be courteous to a man of such calibre. He could've been paid a heavy amount for shows. But he should be treated respectfully, so that he takes back happy memories, that, you know the cops did their job and they were respectful.
–Amit Kilam, Indian Ocean

I know that Rahatji is a very respectable man, besides being a highly acclaimed and well-known artiste, and if he is not guilty of all those charges, he should not fear at all until proven guilty.
–Shibani Kashyap

He's a part of my fraternity – he's also part of the music industry's success, and I stand by what he says. He needs support at this moment, and we should not create problems for him or speculate till anything is proved. I support him.
–Usha Uthup

The authorities are just doing their job. But with due respect to the man and his stature, ignorance of law is no excuse for the rich or the poor to get away with anything. We've got to be aware of the law, and you cannot go against or ignore the rules of the country, like declaring cash at the customs, no matter how many forms you've to fill. However, being a part of the music fraternity, we all are with him.
–Anu Malik

Source: The Time Of India

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