Pak singer Dr Zafar Iqbal wins Sufi music award in Cairo

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A Pakistani musician and singer who has won a prestigious award in Sufi singing from Cairo (same award has also been awarded to poet-philosopher Allama Iqbal) says he has an aim to root out extremism from the country through Sufi music.

National College of Arts’ musicology department former in-charge Dr Zafar Iqbal has recently been awarded Takrim at Cairo, Eygpt, in an international Sufi music festival called ‘Sama International Festival of Spiritual Music and Chanting.’ He went there with his Marifat Band on the invitation of the Egyptian Embassy to perform in the festival.

“It’s a great honour for me that I have been given this award because the same award was announced for Allama Iqbal by the festival management in 2013,” Dr Iqbal told this reporter, adding that he was given the award for Sufi music at a festival in which some 20 countries participated.

He said: “Every year this particular award is given to scholars and musician for their outstanding services in their respective fields. This year in the musician/singer category the awards have been given to Dr Zafar Iqbal and French vocalist Caroline Dumas.”

Iqbal said the festival which had the theme ‘Message of Peace’, bestowed this award on him and his band while acknowledging Marifat Band’s services to promote peace, tolerance and interfaith harmony.

Iqbal heads an eight-member Marifat Band aiming at promoting peace, tolerance and interfaith harmony through popularising Sufi music among the youth.

“The basic focus of our band is to promote peace, tolerance and interfaith harmony and promotion of Pakistani Sufi Music,” he said.

Dr Iqbal, who did his graduation from NCA’s musicology department in 2005, underlines the need for the promotion of classical music in the country with emphasis on holding more and more classical music programmes on TV channels which have become a dream now. “Such programmes were shown on PTV some 20 years ago,” he added.

Dr Iqbal has plans to promote Sufi music countrywide through releasing albums based on the ‘kalam’ of noted poets.

“I am working on such compositions which will attract young generation to this genre of music, “ said Iqbal.