“Today I’ve been feeling very upset,” she remembers Ghazala saying.“I sense some unforeseen sorrow.” Then Farhat’s phone rang.
Singers, dancers, and instrumentalists are generally shunned by “respectable” people.
Like the Taliban, many traditional-minded Pashtuns view music and most other forms of entertainment as an immoral distraction from one’s religious duties, if not as the devil’s work.
As tough as it can be to make a living as a musician in other places, the profession is even crueler in the Pashtun world.
Ghazala Javed’s voice may have rescued her and her family from poverty, but even before her death she paid a daunting price.
Farhat did so and was walking toward the car with the bag when she heard gunshots.
She says she clearly saw Jahangir and his cousin Iqbal standing beside the car, each with a pistol in hand.
For a singer, marrying into a Pashtun family means giving up everything.” And that’s leaving aside the persistent risk of being murdered by the Pakistani Taliban’s zealots, who have been known to kill musicians merely for being musicians.
Fans admired her for carrying on in defiance of the militants’ death threats.
“I told my husband to get Ghazala and Farhat out of there fast,” Nishat Bibi tells Newsweek.
Ever since Ghazala filed for divorce from Jahangir Khan late last year, the 50-year-old real-estate developer (no relation to the shop owner) had been alternately pleading for reconciliation and threatening the singer, Ghazala’s family says. It’s almost unheard of for a Pashtun woman to file for divorce, and it’s even rarer for a Pakistani court to grant such a petition.
Beautiful, tall, and talented, Ghazala Javed had recorded 12 albums and countless singles.