LAHORE - A grand dance party was stopped in the middle, shortly after religious leaders forced the police to stop the event or face the consequences.

The party was taking place near the Sozo Water Park late Saturday night when the police and district administration ordered the organisers to immediately pack up and leave the venue. The tickets were sold at Rs5,000 to Rs7,000 per person.

Over 2,500 people mostly celebrities, socialites, and those belonging to the fashion industry were attending the biggest dance party of the year in Sozo Water Park when senior officials of the city district government stormed in.

“We were asked by police, at midnight, to shut down the event because some religious leaders had strongly reacted. They (religious activists) were ready to attack the event. So, announcements were made on the loudspeakers and the participants were asked to leave the locality,” one of the organisers, Sameer, told The Nation by phone on Tuesday.

Police sources revealed that the party was shut down soon after a religious leader contacted the station house officer by phone and asked him to stop the event and report him back. The cleric introduced himself as Mujahid Abdul Rasool, President of the Sunni Tehrik Lahore division.

“This illegal event, which is taking place there right now, must be stopped. Otherwise, you will be responsible and you may lose your job.”

When the SHO informed the cleric that the orgainsers were given permission by the government, the caller replied, “No officer, not even DCO, DIG, CCPO, and IGP has the authority to grant permission for such an illegal programme.”

“This is not the country owned by the father of the DCO. This is Pakistan and not India. (You) must get this programme stopped immediately and call me back when (this) programme is ended,” he asserted.

Like previous year, the annual musical festival was arranged by Mango Entertainment Company in collaboration with a leading cellular phone company on Saturday night.

Insiders said the organisers were given permission by the Lahore’s district coordination officer in advance. As the police contacted the district administration the DCO and his team rushed to the spot and ordered the event managers to stop the event and leave the venue.

According to Sameer, several DJs from other countries were also invited to perform at the annual musical festival. “The programme was stopped abruptly and in the middle. The police action disappointed our foreign guests and local partygoers as well,” he added.

When contacted, a police officer said that the district government had allowed the dance party “in the name of art and culture.” He, however, claimed that the participants were using multiple drugs including cocaine, morphine, hash, ice, weed, and liquor at the event.

Earlier, a social worker appeared before the city police chief and requested him for police action against the dance party. Waqas Shahid, in his application addressed to the Lahore CCPO, stated that Talha Hamayun and Osama Hamayun of Mango Entertainment Company were organising the event. He said that the party was being arranged to destroy the young generation of this country.

“Without using drugs and power pills like ecstasy, heroin, morphine and GBH, they can’t dance throughout the night. This party is being arranged this year again. They are spreading vulgarity among the youth in the name of electric dance music. Our Islamic society does not allow this,” Shahid further wrote in his application.

Talha Hamayun and Osama Hamayun of Mango Entertainment Company were not available for their comments despite repeated attempts.

When contacted, a senior police officer confirmed that the “police had to shut down” this event because Sunni clerics threatened assault on the partygoers. “It had caused worst traffic mess in the locality. So, the management was asked to close down the event at the midnight.”

The dance party or musical festival was scheduled from 07:00am till morning, according to organisers. They also insisted that nobody was allowed to use drugs, ecstasy or power pills at the event and only couples were invited.

“The event was closed as some outsiders including religious activists forcibly entered the venue,” one of the partygoers told The Nation.

The drug use is shockingly growing among the youth in this society where the trend of drug and dance parties is also gaining momentum. Big dance parties are arranged in the metropolis quite covertly. Even, tickets are sold secretly because organisers fear attacks by religious activists.