The anti-Rahat conspiracy: Pakistan’s persecution mania

Published: February 19, 2011

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is a poplar Pakistani musician

Pakistanis seem to suffer from persecution mania. We have a tendency of believing in conspiracy theories rather than facts. As a nation we try to find ways to justify our wrongdoings by making us and others believe that we were trapped in such a way that we were destined to do wrong.

The way most people reacted to the arrest and detention of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan at the Delhi Airport on Sunday for carrying undeclared foreign currency in violation of Indian laws is just another example of how, as a nation, we put on tinted glasses while looking at such incidents.

Khan reportedly told the Indian authorities that he didn’t know about the currency rule. If this is true, then how could it be that his professional rivals trapped him into committing this violation, as some conspiracy theorists claim?

How can an artist who travels frequently across the world be so ignorant that his ‘rivals’ can so easily entrap him for such an infringement?

But nobody from the artist fraternity here in Pakistan said that Khan should have acted responsibly and not carried undeclared money with him. Instead, everyone just rushed to blame this incident on Indians who don’t want Pakistani artists to show their talent off in Bollywood.

In fact, Bollywood super-stars like Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt and more recently Shiney Ahuja have been arrested, locked up and tried in Indian courts for breaking the law. Were all these stars implicated by their rivals too? Did the courts extend some special treatment to them for their stardom and fan following? No. They were dealt with according to the law.

If Bollywood stars were never given any special treatment after violating the law, why do our artists demand leniency? We need to accept the fact that nobody is above the law and the world is not out to entrap Pakistanis. Follow the law and nobody will arrest you for anything.

Ali Usman

Ali Usman

A Lahore-based reporter who works at The Express Tribune

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • M Agrawal

    Hi there,

    Your unequivocal statement about rule of law is appreciated.

    Though Pakistanis are not the only ones who are seen as over patriotic and sensitive in such matters, but emotions seem run a bit over the top over there.

    A voice like yours is hard to find from Pakistani fraternity that I have known personally.


  • Tanzeel

    Accept it or not but majority of Pakistanis are either criminals or cheats. Recommend

  • Danish S

    Pakistan is a big conspiracy in itself!Recommend

  • muhammad usman

    I am glad one of these cheats has been caught.These singers,actors earn millions of rupees but have never given a single paisa in tax!! rahat fateh earns crores for his concerts,his musical evenings for multinationals but has never paid any tax.
    our media goes on screaming about the politicians,govt. officials,generals but never goes after these multi millionaires who evade massive amounts of taxes!!

    We are a morally bankrupt society,we never punish those guilty.take for example our cricketers who sold out their country for dollars.we never punished wasim akram for his match fixing,instead he got rewarded with the company of the miss universe.we never caught salamn butt,asif & amir,it had to be a foreing media house that did & the ICC that gave them their well deserved punishment.

    We should have banned them ourselves a long time ago.It’s time NAB went after these cricketers,musicians & actors .These people rake in cash but never pay any tax.Recommend

  • Sana

    Sorry to say but your newspaper likes to create spicy stories and creates story out of nothing, much like Urdu newspapers. Noone in the media gave any importance to Rahat’s arrest frankly considering that he indeed broke the law. They are too much preoccupied by Davis case.

    Given the nature of Pak-India relations, people are bound to react in this way. You should see the comments on Indian newspapers as well in which Indians are calling Rahat a terrorist. Now is that a news or something to write about?

    So don’t give importance to such non-issues. Noone is interested.Recommend

  • Kaal

    A smart nation learns, even from supposed enemies.

    For all its many faults, India has a certain rule of law that quite often works.

    Rahat is a beloved and admired figure in India. Mahesh Bhatt, no enemy of Pakistan or Pakistanis said it best about him: Hopefully, he will say sorry and move on to building a greater career than he already has. In India, he has all of us as his well wishers, but if he made a mistake, he will have to pay for it, first. It does not matter if any of his professional rivals got him trapped or not.Recommend

  • Humayun

    As Sana already stated there is no use of bringing these minor issues to limelight and secondly if Rahat was arrested than there must be something wrong, considering the fact that he was in India does not imply that we have to bash Indians and their authorities for incidents. Pakistanis need to behave themselves and its all obvious that how much of a nations we are. Recommend

  • Noor-ul-ain Hanif

    its like a new lolly pop of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan that media is enjoying now a day’s. well this is the 3rd time Rahat was doing it!!Recommend

  • Pal Rao

    I am truely amazed at reading some very well written articles here as i am used to reading only those Pakistani articles in which India is ALWAYS a villain…whatever happens.It was very refreshing to read some very well balanced thoughts which presented both sides without bias.let there be peace and harmony in thoughts and actions.Recommend

  • Nowshair

    Yo bro’!

    Finally sanity in the sub-continent. Thank you for the balanced article.

    Though originally from India I live in NYC and am proud to have among my close friends Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans. Only one Nepali friend though.:(

    Every single Pakistani I have met in Brooklyn (maybe I’m lucky) has the same aspirations – work hard, build a better life for the kids and relax with friends and relatives on the weekend. Ideally at Choudhari Saab’s restaurant in Flatbush, Brooklyn.:)

    We wish folks back at home could share our joys. Inshallah, one day.Recommend

  • JD

    Thank you for a sensible commentary. Indians are not against a Sufi singer such as Rahat Fathe Ali Khan, in fact people who know his music has a lot of respect for him and his illustrious family. However if he broke the law he needs to amend for it. Having said that, for the fact that Rahat is well liked in India and for the sake of India-Pakistan relation I hope Indian authorities would let him go after paying a fine and with the promise of no future recurrence of such transgressions. Recommend

  • Srinivas

    I hope people in India and Pakistan think like you do. It is hard to us judge if the singer did anything wrong but it seems like he did. The ‘persecution mania’ is found in India too. I am from India and my heart bleeds at the loss of opportunity people of India and Pakistan have suffered due to mutual mistrust and terrorism. Imagine a unified India and Pakistan. No more useless killings, super productive industries, one military, lots of money freed up for development, regional peace. Actually, the region was unified like that long time ago and the best days of the region were when the people were united.

    Anyway, it is breath of fresh air to see a Pakistani writer with such clear mind and common sense thinking. I wish more people from both countries can have such open views. Keep writing. Recommend

  • http://twitter/ahmeds027 Mohammad Nisar

    It is sad that Pakistanis have an image of indians equivalent to that of a bogey man out their to get u, their emotions and sensibilities are respected for their artist, but as rightly pointed out by u, (with a heavy heart) no one is above law
    I am a huge Pankha of Rahat Saheb, and as much as i love him, I would want him to be a good citizen too of Pakistan n et al pay his taxes, be a law abiding person and be a symbol of morality and honesty in music or otherwise
    peace out Recommend

  • Probyn

    @M Agrawal:

    A voice like yours is hard to find from Indian fraternity that I have known personally.

    quite right!Recommend

  • bhargav

    Loved your article. Its quite simple and straight. When the law is broken the consequence must be faced and that applies to any person who is in India and enters in India. I love Rahat Fateh Ali Kahn’s songs, i am a big fan of him even though I am and Indian. but as you said every should be equal for law. I was very surprised that, this sensible article was from a Pakistani reporter and not an Indian.Recommend

  • Khurram

    Very well said….thank God somebody is out there who is thinking that Rahat was wrong and he is a frequent traveller and he should know better….but because they are used to of Pakistani culture…” tumhay putta hai mai kon hoon”..and get away with everything. He just didn’t want to pay taxes here and there…but I am glad he got caugt, it is embarrassing but may be this will teach lesson to him and some others and as far as our nation is consern…us ka tou Allah hee hafiz hai…Recommend

  • Zakir Khan

    He got what he deserved but still the way he was treated was too much. Lets wait what he has to say and then we may come to know about it in more detail. ‘Aman ki Ashaa’ is the biggest conspiracy today we have on our media, which is more of a business slogan than a reality though.Recommend

  • Sathish Reddy

    Firstly, I am grateful and relieved that Rahat has been released.
    I am not interested in conspiracy theories nor am I interested in believing whether Indian authorities were being vengeful or were doing their duties.
    Rahat will come back to India, there is no doubt because he is loved here and the big bucks are here.
    But, he can do two things to that will serve him well.
    1) Ignorance of the law is unacceptable.
    2) Being extra careful because he belongs to a country with strained relationships will help. Recommend

  • Nitin


    Its news to me that anyone in India is calling Rahat a Terrorist. I have not seen any such news. Can you tell which website or newspaper or new channel is suggesting that ?


  • Nitin


    If there is a any media house, which has said that. I on my side will surely write a protest letter to them and seek apology for Rahat.


  • Dr. Asad Sadick, Germany

    What Rahat did was unacceptable and he very well knew what he was doing. As a matter of fact according to some media reports he had been doing this all along but escaped. He should have been put behind bars for at least a couple of years. We would then have a famous “singing jailbird”.Recommend