A global music icon, serving as an ambassador for a non-violence organization founded by King Charles, was caught on camera physically assaulting and slapping a fellow band member. The disturbing video captures Pakistani folk singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan assaulting a backing singer during a tour in the United States.
Interestingly, Khan is the ambassador for King Charles' British Asian Trust, an organization addressing domestic violence. Khan, 49, who has over eight million social media followers, viciously attacked the man, raining blows with a slipper and dragging him by the hair at a hotel in Houston, Texas, last year. The video which surfaced only on Saturday, has since gone viral.
Unlike a Peace Messenger
After facing criticism for his actions, Khan tried to defend himself. He admitted to the assault but said, "He was my student, and I hit him. He has no objection." In the 22-second video clip, Khan, dressed casually, can be seen arguing with the man in a green T-shirt, yelling, "Where is my bottle? I am going to hit you. Have you seen my bottle?"
The 32-year-old man, who has not been identified, appears scared. In a longer 36-second video, the man is seen crouching as Khan hits him with what seems to be a slipper. Khan then strikes the man on his face and head while shouting, "Where is my bottle?"
The victim meekly replies: "I did not have it, sir. Which bottle?"
Members of Khan's entourage stand by and keep watch the entire incident. The three bandmates can then be seen trying to separate Khan from the man as they grapple on the floor.
A source familiar with the incident suggested that the dispute might have revolved around a bottle of liquor.
Samaa TV, a Pakistani broadcaster, identified the man as his employee and said such violent behavior among singers is a worrying trend.
However, on Saturday night, Khan denied that the altercation was over a bottle of liquor. Instead, he claimed that his bandmate had misplaced a bottle of 'spiritual water' bestowed upon him by a holy man. Khan said, "He was my student, and I hit him. He lost my special bottle of water, he was responsible for it, he accepted it."
Khan, the nephew of the legendary Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan clarified that the incident was a personal matter involving a relationship between an "ustad and his shagird (teacher and disciple)."
"And he has no objection to me beating him. No one has an objection if I punished my student because he lost my spiritual bottle of water. He has even asked me for forgiveness."
He shared a video featuring the man subjected to the assault, along with his father, to provide further clarification about the situation.
Khan, in his role as an ambassador for the British Asian Trust, has had multiple meetings with King Charles. The trust, founded by Charles in 2007, focuses on addressing poverty and fostering community relations.
In Pakistan, the British Asian Trust says it has trained 160 teachers in spotting mental health issues in students.
Khan's vocal talents were featured in Mel Gibson's 2007 film "Apocalypto," and he also contributed to the soundtrack of the 1995 movie "Dead Man Walking."
Khan is widely regarded as the greatest living singer in the genre of music known as Qawwali, which holds significant prominence in Pakistan. Qawwali has its roots in the poetry and music associated with Islamic mysticism, particularly that of the Sufis.