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Pakistan's women rockers stick to their guns

Female musicians are defying gender stereotypes in the Islamic republic

A still from a music video by art-punk duo Garam Anday, formed by Karachi-based filmmaker Anam Abbas and medical student Areib Usman. (Courtesy of Garam Anday)

ISLAMABAD -- On Coke Studio, one of Pakistan's premiere television music shows, five women are singing "Main Irada," a slow and dreamy pop tune that is a celebration of womanhood. The lineup consists of Muslim, Hindu and Christian women plus two younger girls from Pakistan's northwestern Kalash tribe.

One of the singers is Haniya Aslam, a Pakistani-Canadian guitarist, composer and producer who is a leading figure among a group of female musicians who are defying gender roles in Pakistan's pop culture, revolutionizing the way contemporary pop and rock music is conceived and performed.

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