NEW DELHI, 24 JULY : US-based Bollywood event promoter Rehan Siddiqi has deep links with the Pakistan army and leaders of the countrys ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
During May 2019, Siddiqi met key army officials in the Lahore Cantonment during his visit to Pakistan. Blacklisted by the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs for his anti-India propaganda through his FM radio station in Houston, Siddiqi is also a partner with Pakistan’s Geo TV in hosting shows abroad, top intelligence sources revealed to IANS.
The sources said that Siddiqi’s Pakistan tour was intended to sign a deal with Ali Azmat and Salman Ahmed of the famous band ‘Junoon’, based out of Lahore.
On May 14, 2019, Siddiqi turned up at Ali Azmat’s residence at the Barren Bridge Colony near Lahore Cantonment. However, intelligence reports said that after meeting Azmat, the event promoter met key Pakistani army officials.
Sources also said that at the behest of a PTI minister, who visited the US last year, Siddiqi’s Houston based 106.1 Hum FM radio hosted a series of talks having anti-India content.
Siddiqi, a Pakistani, has been known for his anti-India stance on the Kashmir issue. BJP’s National Vice President Baijayant Jay Panda had clearly hinted about Siddiqi’s ISI connections and his business links with some Bollywood personalities in a recent tweet.
When the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) announced on April 12 that no member of FWICE will work with any Pakistani singer or artiste, Siddiqi tried to approach some big stars of Bollywood to join hands with Pakistani musician Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
On April 15, Siddiqi posted a comment on social media while opposing the FWICE’s move, saying, “Please stop this drama now and pray to Unite”, along with a photograph of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
Siddiqi also has deeper connections with Pakistan’s GEO TV, and most of his shows are presented by the channel. In February 2020, Siddiqi and two of his NRI colleagues took Pakistani singer Sajjad Ali to the US. The Sajjad Ali shows were presented by GEO TV. In all such shows, Pakistan’s diplomats in the US played a vital role, sources added.
Along with Siddiqi, Srinagar born Tony Ashai, an Indian American, is also spewing venom against India on social platforms. Ashai has visited Pakistan several times and is known for his links with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Indian intelligence reports say that Siddiqi is close to some of the best names in Bollywood and has produced over 400 concerts in the US.
Siddiqi uses such concerts to further the anti-India propaganda among a large number of audiences who readily buy tickets. Funds raised from such events allegedly go towards promoting Kashmir-related anti-India propaganda in the US.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has already taken action on a letter by Shiv Sena MP Rahul Shewale regarding Siddiqi’s role and had blacklisted Siddiqi, and his close aides Rakesh Kaushal and Darshan Mehta.
The decision of the MHA was taken on the recommendations of the Consulate General of India, Houston.