Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan parts ways with global promoter Salman Ahmed on a bad note

Khan announces his RFAK company will merge with NRK which is being managed by family members

Famed Pakistani music maestro Rahat Fateh Ali Khan (right) and concert producer Salman Ahmed. — Reporter
Famed Pakistani music maestro Rahat Fateh Ali Khan (right) and concert producer Salman Ahmed. — Reporter

LONDON/LAHORE: Famed Pakistani music maestro Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has announced he will be managed in the future by his wife and other family members — parting ways with globally acclaimed music and concert producer Salman Ahmed who managed the musician for 12 years.

At a press conference in Lahore, Khan announced his Pakistan RFAK company will merge into NRK which is being managed by his wife Nida Khan, her US-based brother Baqa Burki who runs a transport business, his cousin Maroof Ali Khan, Asher Anwar and Raja Umair Hussain, reported The News.

It’s understood Khan and Ahmed took separate paths over several issues related to the singer’s family, lobbying of music promoters globally and disputes related to live shows. Salman Ahmed, through his company PME World, was Rahat’s global promoter for 12 years.

Khan said at the press conference he was separating his path from the “previous management in a loving and peaceful way”, but this correspondent understands that all is not well and several litigations are in the offing.

The singer didn’t name his previous management company but alleged at the same press conference that “previously payments were made to the company without my knowledge by the clients and some clients remain trapped. I don’t want the repeat of this episode where clients pay the money directly, so make payments only when I have personally signed on the receiving.”

The singer has recently aired several other grievances about the previous management company.

When contacted, Ahmed rejected the allegations levelled by Khan. He said: “Only five days before the press conference, the maestro had asked me to meet him and finalise his UK tour and other dates which he had committed with me”.

Ahmed said he had done over $22 million worth of international business and local business of over Rs1.2 billion with Rahat. 

“We have always been on great terms. I have managed Khan’s multiple marriages, family affairs, business matters, image-building and everything else. I was a shield to take the first bullet if need be, but it seems Khan Sb has forgotten everything and he no more remembers my devotion. I am disappointed at the baseless allegations he had made. I had a legal contract with him. We always took money through legal means and through Khan’s permission. I have paperwork for every cent Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has taken and I am happy to hand it over to Pakistani authorities at the Federal Bureau of Revenue for tax and income audit. I have nothing to hide”.

Together, Khan and Ahmed produced magical music, making Rahat amongst the most sought-after world artists. Before Salman Ahmed started managing Rahat, the artist was well-known in Pakistan because of his strong vocal skills, but Ahmed turned around everything for the artist and had made him a household name in millions of homes in South Asia and beyond.

The University of Oxford awarded the music doctorate degree to Khan who had thanked Ahmed for his efforts.

Ahmed is one of the most experienced and respected British Asian art promoters. He started organising Bhangra nights and British Asian concerts around 36 years ago.

Recently, the Supreme Court of California has ruled in favour of Khan and Ahmed against a California-based show promoter in a case worth $2.2 million with charges including defamation, economic duress and extortion. A spokesman of the singer didn’t reply to questions.