How Riyadh Season united Indians and Pakistanis

How Riyadh Season united Indians and Pakistanis

RIYADH (Rahnuma): Renowned Pakistani singers Atif Aslam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan brought an audience of 20,000 Pakistani and Indian music lovers together on Friday night as part of Riyadh Season.

Fans were united in their praise for Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) for organizing the concert.

Aslam performed a string of hits before telling the crowd: “I’ve missed you all these years. And I really want to thank Turki Al-Sheikh (GEA chairman) for making this happen.”

The singer’s two-hour performance ended with a hymn as he paid respect to the Holy Cities.

“I am living the Saudi Vision 2030. It’s such a happy moment for all of us who have waited for him for 15 years,” Jana, a Jeddah student, said.

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan performed Qawwali hits with a live orchestra.

The performance, the first of its kind for Indian and Pakistani expatriates in the Kingdom, delighted many in the audience.

“This is such an honor. I respect the Saudi government for honoring us. There has never been anything on such a large scale for expats living in the Kingdom,” Azhar Ali, an Indian national living in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“We’re grateful to have our stars come and perform here. It makes us feel more integrated in society,” Maqsood Ali, a Pakistani expatriate, said.

Salma Khan, a Canadian national, drove from Jeddah to Riyadh with her husband and children to attend the concert.

“We took a road trip. I’m so glad my children witnessed this historic moment. The performances were impeccable,” she said.

Riyadh Season will continue until Dec. 15 with more than 100 events and activities.

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