Call for support for persecuted Pakistani artist

I was just checking out the IETM website and ran across this news item/call for support:

A prominent actor and producer, Mohammad Alamzeb fled Pakistan in May 2009 following kidnapping and threats by the Taliban. Alamzeb is now in Malaysia with his family, facing financial hardship and fearing for his safety as he awaits UNHCR refugee status and possible resettlement.

According to the actor, on January 12, 2009, he was kidnapped by Taliban agents at 11:00 am as he was on his way to work. Alamzeb was handcuffed and blindfolded and taken at gunpoint to a unknown location. After holding him hostage for five days, the actor’s family produced the ransom to secure his release on the condition that he leave the entertainment business. He was told to call a press release to announce his retirement from the industry publicly, which he did, unwillingly, on January 16, 2009 (“Popular Comedian Quits Showbiz,” The News International, 1/17/09). He was also told to attend Tableegh meetings and grow a beard, which he did not do. Though he agreed to quit showbiz, he continued to work to complete some projects for which he had already received payment. At this point he continued to receive threats and decided to flee the country. Malaysia was his best option at the time.

More info here.

Via FreeDimensional which is a fascinating organization that advances social justice by hosting activists in art spaces and using cultural resources to strengthen their work.

And here’s an article in the UK Telegraph about the Taliban threatening Pakistani artists.

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