A Tehreek-e-Niswan delegation visited Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine in Sehwan on Wednesday to mark the fifth anniversary of a deadly terrorist attack and performed dhamaal to demonstrate resilience and solidarity with the victims and families, besides strengthening its platform for interfaith and communal harmony.
The suicide bombing of February 16, 2017, at the shrine occurred just as a celebration of Sufi music and dance known as dhamaal was being performed after the evening prayers. Islamic State of Iraq and Syria claimed responsibility of the attack that killed 85 devotees and injured 300 others.
“Such sacred spaces have always existed for devotees belonging to all faiths, to visit in freedom and communal harmony,” said Sheema Kermani, head of Tehreek-e-Niswan and a prominent artist, who performed dhamaal.
She stressed the need to recognise, appreciate and preserve our traditional art, culture, folklore, customs, dance and music; and most importantly, our link to humanistic thought and way of life.
“Diversity, pluralism, inclusivity, peace and tolerance have been a traditional hallmark of the Sindhi society, and devotees at the shrine do not belong to anyone religion; they represent all faiths,” she said.
“The sound of music and the dhamaal dancers’ bells have resonated and have always been part of the Sufi/Bhakti tradition of humanism, interfaith harmony, promoting tolerance and peace, and bringing people together. This philosophy was directly targeted and attacked in 2017 and now we all must work together to regain, preserve, protect and promote it,” she said.