Paks Jamaat-e-Islaami objects to kathak classes in school

Karachi: Pakistan`s politico-religious party Jamaat-e-Islaami has taken offence to a private school teaching `kathak` to its students, terming the dance form as being against the values of the country while threatening that the practice would "not be tolerated".

"This dance is against Pakistan`s basic values as well as Islam`s traditions and the practice of this school teaching this dance to students will not be tolerated," chief of JI in Karachi Muhammad Hussain Mehnati, said in a statement.

The private school in the bustling Gulshan-e-Iqbal area has hired professionals to hold kathak dance classes for students who are interested in learning it.

"I think this practice of holding kathak dances needs to be stopped immediately by the school," Mehnati said.

A school official who declined to be named said the management was in touch with the provincial education minister, department and the private schools association to sort out the matter.

"They are many children taking these classes and their is nothing inappropriate being taught in these classes, but we are seeking second opinion as well after this statement from the religious party," he said.

Well-known kathak exponent, Sheema Kirmani said she was appalled by the Jamaat`s stance.

"Their statement is uncalled for and who are they to determine what should be taught in schools," she said.

Kirmani said that training children in fundamental arts is part of student`s overall schooling and without music or arts a child`s education is incomplete.

"Their is nothing unethical or against the values of Pakistan in these dance classes," she noted.

A number of dance schools have sprung up in different areas of the city, particularly in the posh Defence and Clifton areas, where a recent trend is to fuse aerobics with the dance moves of latest Bollywood movies.