Lahore: A woman curator of a famous Pakistani
art gallery was allegedly thrashed by a police officer, who
accused her of engaging in "immoral activities in the name of
culture" and "berated" her for wearing a sleeveless dress.
Shadman police station chief Rana Zulifkar and other
policemen recently went to the Nairang Art Gallery in Lahore
and conducted inquiries with its staff about "immoral"
activities purportedly going on at the venue.
"When the curator, Amal Opal, intervened, Zulifkar
thrashed her and used abusive language," said an employee of
the gallery who did not want to be named.
"Tum fahasi ka adda chala rahi ho (You are running a
place of immorality)," the employee quoted Zulfiqar as having
Police took Amir Dada, the son of the gallery`s owner,
into custody but subsequently released him.
Reports said the police officer also berated the curator
for wearing a sleeveless dress.
The gallery is owned by renowned architect Nayyar Ali
Dada, who complained about the incident to police.
In an application to the Punjab police chief, Dada said:
"Police officer Zulifkar misbehaved with a lawyer who was
sitting in the gallery`s cafe with his wife.
"He had also beaten up the gallery`s woman curator for
protesting against the trespassing and misbehaviour with the
Dada said in the letter that no action had been taken
against the police officer so far.
"I have also sent an application to the Chief Minister.
A senior official of the Intelligence Bureau came to the
gallery for a probe today," he said, adding Opal was
traumatised by the incident.
Noted writer Intizar Hussain condemned the police action
and said it was wrong for authorities to have turned against a
"good meeting place" in Lahore.
He regretted the incident, describing it as unbelievable.
"A raid on an art gallery, where intellectuals, artists
and fine arts students assemble, is strange and highly
regrettable," he said.
Noted intellectuals of Lahore like Mubarak Ali, Mubashar
Hasan and I A Rehman, often meet at the gallery.
"This is the only place left in Lahore where
intellectuals can sit for a while," Husain said.
Art critic and painter Salima Hashmi said artistes would
soon send a petition to the government and other authorities
on the incident and hold a gathering in Lahore.