Picture used for illustrative purposes only.
After two years of Covid-induced lockdowns and studying from home, students on the Abbottabad campus of the COMSATS University in Pakistan decided to take a break from all the stress and enjoy a night with music and dance, which has now been termed "obscene" by some quarters, Samaa TV reported.
The event, a dance and musical programme, was organised by a students' society. Nasir Ahmed, the media coordinator of COMSATS, said that the backlash against the concert was influenced by a religious students' organisation, Islami Jamiat Talaba or IJT.
Twitter has been flooded with posts and videos denouncing the planned concert. People have called it "anti-Islamic", "haram", and "an attack on the moral values of Islam".
The students' body had put up a number of posters in the city in protest against the concert. One of them read: "The people who are trying to spread obscenity amongst Muslims are destined to go to hell."
Another post that is going viral on social media is a video from a sermon. It shows a man, a religious preacher, addressing a group of people, the report said.
He said, "This programme arranged by the university allows women and men to dance together."
"Imagine that at a university, men and women will dance together. This is anti-Islamic," he added.
Ahmed believes that IJT is running a vilification campaign against the university.
"If the students were actually against the concert, they would have complained to the management. We have received no complaints so far," he said.
He added that the concert will still take place, and the varsity has no plans of cancelling it.
"We have always had such events at the varsity," Ahmed told Samaa Digital, "For the past two years, we were unable to hold the festival because of the coronavirus lockdown."
According to Ahmed, as per the Higher Education Commission's policies, a students' week is observed at the university every year, during which students organise several extracurricular activities such as sports galas and drama week.
"It is like a break from studies," he said.
It stated that AKU was the only university in Pakistan teaching clinical medicine and public health that is ranked among the top 500 universities in the world. In clinical medicine, it jumped from the 151-200 group to the 76-100 group in 2018.
According to a notification, the female students and staffers have been asked to wear an abaya, scarf and shalwar kameez instead of skinny jeans, tights and t-shirts. Excessive makeup, jewels and carrying large hand bags has also been forbidden.
The concert will take place at the Sheikh Rashid Hall at DWTC, and the capacity of the hall will be reduced to 1,400 from 4,400, in order to maintain social distancing protocols.
The ban follows an accident on Jan.10 in which nine traders died and 20 others were injured when a truck returning from a weekly market near Lira overturned. Police blamed speed and reckless driving for the crash.
"The first accident occurred in the early morning in Al Karama tunnel, when a bus crashed into a light vehicle causing ten minor injuries," he explained.
Police spokesman Moses Carter told the media the death toll was provisional and "may increase" because a number of people were in critical condition. He added that children were included among the dead.