Taliban-imposed shave, music ban spreading -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Taliban-imposed shave, music ban spreading

PESHAWAR: While NWFP is hit by a series of suicidal attacks targeting military and government installations in different parts, the province is also in the grip of a fresh wave of threats to barber, video and CD shops, dancing and singing places.

It could not be determined as yet who are behind suicide attacks but it is no secret who is hurling threats to the shopkeepers.

Pakistani Taliban are believed to have been constantly mailing letters containing threats to the owners of those shops who they think are indulged in un-Islamic practices and spread obscenity and vulgarity in the Pakhtoon society.

The Taliban are so conspicuously and ardently doing their job that the recipients of letters are too scared to defy. The Taliban had very shaky start in the beginning and their threats went unnoticed, but the recipients are now taking warnings seriously.

As a result some shopkeepers have started switching over to other businesses. The barbers were threatened not to shave men and cut English-style hair in their shops. Of late barbers have succumbed to Taliban pressure after they received final letters of threats not to shave anybody in their shops.

The Swat Barbers’ Federation decided on Monday to impose a ban on men’s shave and English-style haircut throughout Swat district.

“Any barber found violating the decision will be fined Rs 5, 000,” announced the federation in a meeting which was attended by several dozens barbers from Mingora and other parts of Swat.

“The ban on shaving men and English-style haircut is being imposed after they received letters of threats,” the federation told the barbers. However, barbers are allowed to trim the beard Sharia-style.

The barbers have appealed to the people not to force them for shave and English hairstyle in future.Similarly, in Buner, Swat, the owners of Diwana Baba Shopping Centre have been warned to ban entry of women in their shops and remove curtains for behind-the-curtain shopping.

They were threatened that they would have to face dire consequences if they did not remove the curtains. There are complaints that some shopkeepers are allegedly misusing the curtains and the Taliban were compelled to block immorality behind the curtains.

Diwana Baba Shopping Centre is the modern business place in old central bazaar in Tehsil Gagra where cloth-selling is the major business. After these threats the shopkeepers have displayed banners asking women not to come to their shops, which remained closed on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, shopkeepers in CDs’ market have cut by a half the prices of CDs and song cassettes.

These shopkeepers are believed to have decided to switch over to some other businesses.In Mingora dozens of local Taliban attacked and ransacked a hotel on Kalam Fizagat Road where dancing and music was going on.

They smashed windowpanes and threatened the owner who happened to be district naib nazim to close the dancing functions, otherwise his hotel would be blown up.

The MMA government in NWFP has already banned music in buses and wagons. However, music is switched on across NWFP border at Khairabad Bridge and stopped at the time of entering into NWFP.

Though the local Taliban are allegedly involved in these activities, but they are being backed by the people in what people say a sharp reaction to “US anti-Muslim policies and victimization of Muslims in Christian-controlled organizations and institutions in America and European countries”.

“The more the US victimizes Muslims, the more sharp reaction will be in Afghanistan and other Muslim countries,” locals believe.
Source: The Post
Date:9/12/2007