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Pashtun pop star quits singing for religion

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Summary of story from RFE/RL, January 24, 2012

One of the world’s most beloved Pashtun singers has announced she is giving up music to follow her faith.

Nazia Iqbal surprised concertgoers in Dubai recently when she announced that they were witnessing her last performance.

She said she was leaving music to live the “life of a devoted Muslim woman.”

“Now you are not going to see my face,” the popular Pakistani singer said, “because I will be wearing the Islamic veil.”

“Nazia”, as she is known to her admirers, is from Pakistan’s western Swat region, but has been based in the United Arab Emirates since 2005.

She says she now plans to open an Islamic religious school or madrasah in Pakistan.

Shabana, an admirer from Quetta who identified herself only by her first name, said: “I am really very sad because of Nazia Iqbal’s decision. I am so grief-stricken that I want to cry.”

Female artists Shakeela Naz, Farzana, and Farida Khan halted their careers in recent years after marrying.

But Pakistani singer Ayman Udas was shot dead in her Peshawar apartment in 2009 in an apparent “honor killing” by her brothers after receiving several threats from radical Islamists, and prominent singer and dancer Shabana was killed by Taliban militants in Swat in January 2009.

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