Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)Report On Threats/violence against musicians & attacks on music shops 2000-2011 | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)Report On Threats/violence against musicians & attacks on music shops 2000-2011

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)Report On Threats/violence against musicians & attacks on music shops 2000-2011

Executive Summary

This report is outcome of data collected on the attacks, threats and violence against musicians, CD and Video shops in Pakistan during 2000 to 2011.

According to reports 14 persons including a woman were killed by the militants; while more than 121 were injured in different incidents of violence.

As many as 05 persons were kidnapped/abducted by the religious extremist groups and more than 97 attacks were carried out on CD and video shops; three wedding ceremony/ musical programmes were attacked by militant groups in various parts of the country.

Militants issued life threats and imposed bans on more than 13 musicians and musical bands; while over 580 shops were destroyed/ damaged in different attacks during last ten years.

The musicians and artists in Pakistan have been facing threats and attacks by the extremist religious groups since long time in the name of so called drive against vulgarity. Musicians were not only attacked but the music houses and CD shops were blown up, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

The ransacking of music house and burning of musical instruments have become regular practice by those extremists groups.

The activists of religious groups during 2000 started their activities against music and artists by smashing billboards in the then NWFP North West Frontier Province (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).

The religious extremism increased after the attack on Afghanistan followed by twin towers attack and then as Muttahida Majlis Amal (MMA), the alliance of religious parties came into power followed by general election of 2002, the hard days for musicians and music lovers increased.

Since coming to power in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province’ in 2002, a powerful alliance of religious parties named the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal had banned music in public transport in the province, barred government employees from attending music and dance functions, and burned TVs, videos, DVDs and other “immoral” material. The professedly religious Islamist alliance considers music and dance “un-Islamic”.

Hotels were forbidden to hold concerts, soirees and fashion shows, and singers were reported to have uprooted and headed to more liberal cities like Lahore. However, despite the ban on playing music in public transport and places, many drivers listen to cassettes in their vehicles. Government servants were barred from attending music parties.

The Pakistani rock band “Junoon” got in serious trouble when its members protested against the nuclear bomb tests of Pakistan and India. Junoon was denied the right to perform for a long period in Pakistan. One of their songs about corruption made their lives miserable.

“Censorship can lead to creativity,” says Junoon, Pakistan’s leading band: “But Freedom of Expression does also request responsibility”. Junoon was banned by a political and cultural environment that discourages art in Pakistan.

According to reports 2007 was most dangerous and horrifying year for CD and Video shop owners operating in the then North west Frontier Province (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa KP) of Pakistan. Many CD shops, Video and music centers were blown up by extremist groups.
During 2000 to 2011, Singers were murdered, injured, kidnapped and threatened in different parts of the country particularly in KP.

Descriptive report

On January 7, 2011, at least four persons, including two police officials, sustained injuries when a low-intensity bomb exploded in CD market at Charsadda district, police said. The bomb, which went off in a CD market, known as Dozakh Market in Umerzai Bazaar, caused critical injuries to Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Samiullah and others constable Khalil Ullah, Arif and Syed Akhtar Bacha sustained injuries in the blast. Only a few shops in the market were damaged in the blast.
Singer Ali Jan Issazai and his student Shahzad Nadeem were abducted by a group of armed men from a roadside hotel in Quetta on January 10, 2011.
On January 30, 2011, the bullet-riddled body of a famous Balochi and Birahvi folk singer Ali Jan Issazai was found in Kanak, Khuzdar district. According to police, locals spotted the body in Kanak area within the limits of City Police Station, Khuzdar, and informed the police. The body was taken to a state-run hospital for autopsy. “The victim was hit a single bullet in the head and his body bore multiple marks of torture,” hospital sources told.
A CD shop was blown up in Peshawar on March 12, 2011. The blast, which took place in the Badabher police precincts, completely damaged the shop, but no loss of life was reported, local police said. Police have registered a case against unidentified terrorists.
On September 19, 2011, five people were killed and over two dozen injured in a bomb explosion that targeted a music and video compact disks market in Peshawar, the capital city of KP. Officials of the bomb disposal unit (BDU) said around 10 kilograms of explosive was planted in a motorbike parked outside Grace Market that houses many video and music CD shops. The explosion was triggered by a remote-controlled device. The blast completely destroyed 20 shops and partially destroyed ten. It also damaged a number of vehicles passing through the area. The blast triggered a fire.

On January 28, 2010, a bomb blast in a CD market injured five people named Safdar Abbas, Abdul Malik, Tufail, Irfanullah and Hanif and damaged 10 shops in Jand. There were no casualties as the market was closed.
On April 6, 2010, unknown miscreants blasted CD shop in Tank, however, no loss to life was reported, local police said. FIR lodged by shop owner, Abdul Razaq with Cantt police station says, unknown miscreants planted explosive material near his CD shop, which went off with a bang leaving the shutter of the shop slightly damaged.

On June 26, 2010, seven people were injured when two low-intensity explosive devices exploded in a crowded CD market on the Mall Road in Lahore, Punjab. The two blasts, which took place 10 minutes apart, triggered panic among shopkeepers and customers who ran for their lives. Police believed the explosions had been carried out by extremists who earlier targeted some cultural events in the city and even some juice shops.
On September 17, 2010, a CD shop was slightly damaged in a bomb blast in Pat Bazaar area of Hangu. Police said that an unidentified man put a computer packed with 5kg explosives inside the CD shop and left. The owner of the shop got suspicious and threw the CPU outside the shop where it exploded with a big bang. No loss of life was reported in the incident.
A group of religious extremists threatened Asad Qazilbash, a renowned sarood player in Islamabad, to stop giving lessons and remove the signboard for his music school on 22 October, 2010.
Asad Qazilbash was shell-shocked when he learned that his 12-year-old son, while playing in the street with his friends, had been approached by a group of young men wearing shalwar-kameez and turbans on their heads who told the boy to go home and tell his father to immediately remove the signboard which was displayed in front of his house announcing a launch of classes for those interested in learning music, and also that he should stop teaching music.

On 26 November 2010, unidentified militants kidnapped Musharraf Bangash, a Pashtun singer from the Mir Ali area in North Waziristan. Then, a jirga negotiated his release, reported Shaheen Buneri from Radio Mashaal.

Ms. Shabana, one of Pakistan’s celebrated dancers, was shot dead in Mingora on 2 January 2009 after defying the Taliban’s ban on music and dance. Armed men reportedly dragged Shabana away from her home in Bunner Bazaar, and she begged them to shoot her rather than slit her throat. Her body was found slumped on the ground in the centre of Mingora city’s Green Square, strewn with bank notes, CDs of her dance performances and pictures from her photo album.

More than 1,000 women dancers and singers had fled the area. Some who remained told The Daily Telegraph’s reporters that Shabana had paid the price for publicly defying the Taliban’s radio mullahs and that she had ignored personal warnings to stop the performances and the training of young dancers in her home.

A drama artist Alamzeb Mujahid was abducted from Peshawar’s Hayatabad area on 12 January, 2009. Mujahid was abducted from outside his house. The association was trying to locate him and they had not sought police assistance.

On January 10, 2009, unidentified assailants blew up a CD shop with explosives in Karak, police said. Police sources said that the explosives, which had been planted at the music store’s entrance, completely destroyed the shop.
A powerful blast at the Nehar Chowk area of Mardan destroyed a CD centre and some other shops on January 10, 2009. Police said that a local-made bomb was planted near a CD shop owned by Imtiaz Khan at the Nehar Chowk, Par Hoti, which went off, destroying the CD centre and some other shops. However, no casualty was reported in the incident.
On January 14, 2009, a group of armed militants blew up fourteen shops, most of them CDs centres, in a series of explosions at three main markets of sensitive Hakeemabad area in Noshehra cantonment. Eight shops were destroyed completely while six others damaged partially in series of three blasts with four minutes intervals in Hakeemabad.
A powerful blast at Salim Market in Upper Dir destroyed at least 15 CD shops on 11 February, 2009. Five shops were destroyed completely, while 10 others damaged partially in the blast. No human casualty was reported, as the market was closed at the time of the blast.

On March 2, 2009, the owners of 15 compact disc (CD) shops and net-cafes decided to close their businesses after receiving threats from unidentified militants through a local Nazim. Sources said that unidentified militants had sent a letter to Union Council Mardan Nazim Khas Ajmal Khan, in which they warned the local CD shops and net-cafe owners at Mir Afzal Khan bazaar to close their businesses. It was learnt that the Nazim had approached President Anjuman-e-Tajiran Ghulam Habib and conveyed him the message of the militants. Eventually, the CD shops and net-cafe owners decided to wind up their business while some shopkeepers burnt a large number of CDs on the spot.
On March 5, 2009, a market was blown up in the Takhtbai bazaar of Mardan, destroying 18 CD and three other shops. The watchman, Bahader Khan, said 10 people came to the Khursheed Market, famous for CD business, around midnight and overpowered him. He said they first asked him to prepare tea for them, but when he refused they held him at gunpoint and started planting explosives in the market. He said later they took him out of the market and detonated the explosives, reducing the market to rubble.
On March 12, 2009, suspected militants blew up 32 CD centres, net cafés, and shops in Noshehra. Suspected miscreants planted improvised explosive devices at the Khawar market, Akora Khattak, which went off one after another. They destroyed 20 CD centres and shops completely and damaged 12 others partially, inflicting over Rs. 6 million losses to the local traders, police and locals said. However, no casualty was reported.
On March 15, 2009, a constable was injured and a CD shop was blown up, when two explosive devices went off in different areas. Officials said that unidentified outlaws had planted a bomb near tower of a cellular phone company in Takhtbai Town, which exploded and injured a constable, Bakht Masood. The blast did not cause damage to the tower.
On March 22, 2009, unidentified miscreants had planted explosives devices near the Shahid CD Centre in Sabzi Mandi, Bannu that went off. The shop was completely destroyed.
The musicology department at the National College of Arts at Punjab University in Lahore had moved out of the university after threats with ‘dire consequences’ in March 2009. Head of the musicology department, Sarwat Ali said “while it is true that there is a department of musicology at the Punjab University, since the last two years, but we had not been able to hold classes on the university premises because an Islamic student’s organisation had threatened us with dire consequences. So, we were operating from the Al-Hamra Cultural Complex.”

Suspected Taliban militants planted a remote-controlled bomb that blew up a music shop and neighbouring stalls in Peshawar on 3 April, 2009.

On April 8, 2009, bomb blast blew up a music shop and neighbouring stalls in Peshawar. “A CD and music centre, as well as 3 other shops were destroyed when a locally made bomb went off in front of a bus stand in the Faqirabad area of Peshawar,” local police official Anwar Khan told. No loss of life was reported as the shops were closed overnight when the bomb exploded.
In the district of Buner, of KP, militants had shaved the heads and moustaches of a young man and his three friends for listening to music late on 25 April 2009. The Taliban also beat them and asked them not to listen to music ever again.

On May 26, 2009, a CD shop was blown up in Bahadur Killay while a police post on Pajaggi Road in Peshawar was attacked with a bomb. Unidentified miscreants had planted explosive devices near the CD shop of Mohammad Rafeeq in Shahidabad, which went off in the morning. The blast damaged the shop and nearby buildings but did not cause any casualty.
On 27 April 2009 the Lahore High Court imposed a ban on songs by the two Lahore singers Naseebo Lal and Nooro Lal, deeming them ‘indecent, immoral’ and ‘against the values of a Muslim society’. According to the news reports, Judge of LHC also issued notices to the two singers to appear before the court on 25 May 2009. The judge issued order on a petition filed by advocate Asif Mehmood Khan.
He argued that the protection given by the government to these singers under the Motion Pictures Ordinance of 1979 was illegal and against the values of a Muslim society.

A British filmmaker David Whitney fled Pakistan after his crew was shot at near Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province on 14, May, 2009. Whitney was shooting Kandahar Break, a film about Taliban-rule in Afghanistan. The crew was flown out of the country within 24 hours.

“Fortunately we all survived, but it was terrifying,” Whitney said. “Four members of our crew were shot but they escaped without serious injury. We were flown straight out of Quetta, landed in Islamabad and then onto Manchester.

A CD shop was blown up in Bahadur Killay on 25, May, 2009 when unidentified miscreants planted explosive devices near the CD shop of Mohammad Rafeeq in Shahidabad, which went off in the morning. The blast damaged the shop and nearby buildings but did not cause any casualty.

On May 29, 2009, a minor girl was injured and four shops were gutted in a bomb blast in Kohat. Militants had planted a time bomb at a CD shop near the New Bus Stand which went off in the small hours. Rasheeda Bibi in the nearby house was injured while the shop was completely destroyed.
On June 6, 2009, unidentified miscreants blew up a CD shop in Oghi area. Sources said that unidentified miscreants had planted explosive devices near a CD shop in Shahjee Market in Oghi tehsil, which went off early in the day. “The CD shop was completely destroyed while some nearby shops were also damaged partially,” a police official said, adding that they also defused an explosive device on the spot.
On Aug 2, 2009, suspected Taliban bombed four shops selling CDs and cassettes in Balakot. Police officer Habib-ur-Rahman said a time bomb planted outside the shops in the main market of Balakot exploded early in the morning. Two people were also injured in the blast.

On Aug 18, 2009, following closure of music and CD shops in Balakot and Oghi, owners of such shops in the Mansehra town are also under pressure to wind up their business. The owner of a CD shop who had displayed a notice that he would wind up the business soon told Dawn he had taken the decision under compulsion. He said he did not want to close the business because it was his only source of livelihood, but he had no option.
Mazhar Sheeraz, owner of Classic CDs, said he was going to close the business soon because there was nothing more precious than life. Mr. Sheeraz said the president of the Anjuman-i-Tajran was also forcing CD and music shop owners to close their business without offering them any compensation.
Raja Akhtar, owner of Pakistan CDs, said he was also facing pressure from different quarters to close the business, adding he was associated with the business for 16 years and had invested in the business whatever money and resources he had.
An explosive device planted near a CD shop, blew up 6 shops on October 20, 2009 in Barkund area of Mansehra. Three persons, including the owner of a barbershop, were buried under the rubbles. Local people pulled them out safely. The CD shop was destroyed completely while five adjacent general stores, barber shops and a book store were damaged.
On Nov 12, 2009, a powerful blast at Salim Market of Upper Dir destroyed at least 15 CD shops. According to details, the explosive device was planted by unidentified miscreants in the market. Five shops were destroyed completely, while 10 others damaged partially in the blast. No human casualty was reported, as the market was closed at the time of the blast.

On January 2, 2008, unknown militants blew up a Shabana music centre, damaging to at least four adjoining shops at the old bus stand in Kohat city.
On 5, January, 2008, three video CD centres and two barber shops were blown up in Peshawar. The first bomb explosion destroyed a barber shop and a video shop in the Sheikh Mohammadi village. Another explosion in the Mashogagar village destroyed two video CD centres, a barber shop and a general store.

A powerful explosion destroyed a video shop and partially damaged nine others in Azizur Rehman Market on January 6, 2008 in Salarzai area.
Militants blasted a music centre inside Durant Gate by detonating an explosive device near the shop on January 12, 2008.
On January 27, 2008, two successive blasts in a CD market, damaging at least three shops, two of which were running CD business near Wakho Pul on Kohat Road. No casualty was reported in the blasts.
Four CD shops were blown up in different areas in Peshawar on April 3, 2008. The shops were owned by Adalat Khan, Raja, Muqeem and Bakht Rehman.
Six shops including two selling CDs blown up in Khar by unidentified terrorists on 6, April, 2008. Sources said the powerful explosion occurred early in the morning, destroying six shops at the main Bazaar of Khar, the headquarters of the Bajaur Agency.

On April 21, 2008, unidentified men blew up a video shop in Kurram village in the Karak district, police said. They said the explosion took place when a remote-controlled explosive device planted near the shop was detonated. No loss of life was reported.
On April 24, 2008, around two dozen attackers, who introduced themselves as `Taliban Cammandos’, burnt several CD shops in Shahwali, Rajanpur.
A powerful blast ruined a CD center in Sardraz Market of Batkhela on April 27, 2008. The bomb was fixed in Sagheer C.D and mobile centre. The other five shops besides C.D center were also badly affected while the glasses the near by buildings were smashed.
On April 26, 2008, a powerful blast ruined a CD center in Sardraz Market of Batkhela. The bomb was fixed in Sagheer C.D and mobile centre. The whole city was shaken due to the blast. The other five shops besides C.D center were also badly affected while the glasses the near by buildings were smashed.
A bomb blast at two shops selling music CDs destroyed at least 10 shops, while a body was recovered from Chuprial area in Swat district on 3, May, 2008.
Sources said that one of the bombs planted by unidentified miscreants in two CD shops at Kabal tehsil went off destroying 10 shops. However, no casualty was reported.

On May 6, 2008, some unidentified miscreants blew up a CD shop in Nowshehra bazaar. Shah Sarwar, owner of the shop, told police that he was informed at about 3am that someone had blown up his shop. Assessing the losses, he said CDs, television and DVDs worth Rs 200,000 were reduced to ashes.

On May 6, 2008, The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) banned musical alerts on mobile phones in the Tribal Areas.
A TTP spokesman was quoted as saying that TTP Naib Amir Maulvi Faqir Muhammad had banned playing music in vehicles as well as on cell phones.
On May 8, 2008, a shop selling music CDs was blown up in a bomb explosion while several other shops were partially damaged. Eyewitnesses said the Afaq Music Centre; located near KDA Gate was destroyed by the explosion.

On May 15, 2008, Underground militant organization Ghazi Abdul Rashid Shaheed Brigade (GARSB) has threatened video shops owners in Quetta to quit their business or “face suicide attacks”. “All music centre owners, cable operators and cinema owners should immediately quit their businesses and seek Allah’s forgiveness otherwise such individuals will be killed and suicide attacks will be carried out against them,” reads the GARSB’s recent warning.

On May 15, 2008, the local Taliban interrupted a music show at a marriage party in the Mail area of the Haleemzai Tehsil. Tribal elder Zarbash Khan, the father of the bridegroom, was asked to appear before the Taliban to explain why he had arranged a music show at the marriage party of his son Nazar Hussain, despite the ban imposed by the Taliban. They also broke music instruments and manhandled local artists invited for the function.

On May 16, 2008, the activists of a newly formed the Ulema Committee burnt television sets, record players, cassettes and CDs day, which had been seized from local markets and quarters of paramilitary personnel during raids.
The burning of music related materials by the committee was the first incident in Landi Kotal. A spokesman for the Ulema Committee, Farmanulah, told journalists that besides music centres, some TV sets, CDs and recorders had been recovered from residential quarters of the Khassadar force. The confiscated items were put to torch in front of the Masjid-i-Quba after Friday prayers. Hundreds of local residents were present on the occasion.

On May 30, 2008, a bomb blast at a CD centre at Amandara in the suburbs of Malakand badly damaged four shops, officials of the Malakand Levies said. No loss of life was reported.

On June 2, 2008, bomb destroyed the CD shop in the Iranabad area, Mardan.
On June 4, 2008, bomb blast hit a video shop located on the 2nd floor of Bannu Market in main Bazaar of the garrison town of Kohat.
The bomb was planted in a CD and video shop, resulting in the wounding of at least 3 people. The shop was destroyed and some nearby shops were also damaged.

On June 21, 2008, a bomb blast destroyed 3 CD centres and partially damaged 16 other shops at Rasool Khan Market in the Shakardara Bazaar. However, no causality was reported. District Police Officer Abdullah Khan said a bomb, weighing three-and-a-half kilograms, exploded near the Universal Music Centre.

On June 22, 2008, militants blew up a music shop by hurling explosive material into its premises in Tirah Bazaar, Kohat injuring 3 people, including the shop owner, BBC Urdu reported. It said the attackers were veiled and riding motorbikes.

In August, 2008 Taliban death threats made singer Haroon Bacha, a Pashtun singer flee the country. Bacha escaped from his home near Peshawar and went to New York, leaving behind his wife, two young children and an extended family.

As far as 24 video shops were blown up with three bombs in a shopping plaza on 24, August, 2008 in Attock. No one was killed but four were injured.

Musician and singer Noel Jamshed was threatened with “dire consequences” by unidentified persons in Karachi on 20 September 2008. “Some men halted Noel Jamshed when he was on his way home on his motorbike. They jolted him and warned him for composing Christian music and imparting music skills for church activities.

The culprits also snatched his mobile phone and wallet. In the past, Noel, who is head of an organisation named Church Music and Message Ministry had already been, threatened a number of times through unknown phone calls.”

On October 9, 2008, unidentified assailants blew up a CD shop with explosives in Karak. Police sources said that the explosives, which had been planted at the music store’s entrance, completely destroyed the shop.

On October 11, 2008, unidentified people blew up a compact disk (CD) shop and damaged 3 other shops with a time device in Gumbat area of Kohat. Sources said Muhammad Miskeen, owner of the shop situated in Amir Plaza, had received threats in the past to wind up the “un-Islamic business”.

A prominent film-maker, film distributor and well-known figure of the television, newspapers and advertisement world, Satish Anand, was kidnapped by unknown men from Karachi on Monday, 20, October, 2008.

Militants torch two shops in Mingora on 21 November, 2008 amid the depleting writ of the government in the main city of the restive Swat valley. Sources said the militants torched an electronics shop of the Abaseen Market, where dish antenna and receivers were also being sold. The owner said he suffered a huge loss as many electronic gadgets were burned in the blaze.

The militants also set ablaze a video game shop in Sarwar Market on the Haji Baba Road in Mingora city.

On November 30, 2008, unidentified men set a CD shop on fire that engulfed an adjacent store as well in Mohallah Darussalam, police said. Police and local people extinguished the fire after hectic efforts. Goods worth thousands of rupees were destroyed in the arson but no loss of life was reported.

On December 13, 2008, local Taliban burnt at least 17 CD shops and a net cafe in Thall bazaar of Hangu district. Officials said that a large number of armed Taliban came in vehicles to the bazaar and began to break locks of the shops. They sprinkled petrol in some of the shops and set them on fire.

On 15 December 2008, a group of musicians were attacked by armed men. Two days later at a hospital in Peshawar, the harmonium player Anwar Gul died from his wounds.

It was a chilling cold night of December when a group of armed men attacked two vehicles transporting the popular Pashto singer Sardar Yousafzai and 11 members of his orchestra home from a wedding performance. Five musicians were seriously injured, and the harmonium player Anwar Gul died two days later at a hospital in Peshawar.

On December 17, 2008, three CD centres among nine shops were blown up by unknown miscreants in Nowshehra. The incident was reported in the suburbs of Nowshehra Cantonment. Police said that miscreants had planted three explosive devices at two opposite markets on Kaka Sahib Road, near the Girls High School and union council office. Two of the devices went off with a bang, destroying six shops including three CDs centres completely while damaging three others partially.

On December 21, 2008, unidentified miscreants blew up 5 CD shops with powerful explosive devices at Badrashi area of Nowshehra. Three shops destroyed completely while the two damaged partially in the blast that shattered the windowpanes of the nearby houses.

On December 22, 2008, militants blew up a music centre in Dir Colony in Yakatut area. A police official said the explosion destroyed the building and other valuable items in the centre.
In February 2007, the Pakistani-Canadian rock group Falak was blacklisted on MTV Pakistan after having aired the music video for their song ‘Yadein II’ for a couple of months, the tv channel deemed it too controversial because of its images related to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

On 03 March, 2007, fine of 500 rupees was imposed for playing music in taxi in Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, by the Taliban. Taxi drivers complained that even possession of a CD player in their vehicles is enough to invite the 500 rupees punishment.

According to the news reports of 10 March 2007, music centres were threatened by religious extremists. “Close within three days — or you will be blown away”.
The letter states:
“All music centres, CD centres and internet cafes’ owners are hereby informed to find another business for themselves within three days and repent for their evil actions; otherwise their shops will be blown away with bombs”.

“If you cannot support us then never try to come in our way because opposing us is similar to opposing the teachings of the Holy Quran”, the letter reads.

According to the cleric Maulana Fazlullah, he burnt TV sets, video equipment, computers and digital cameras worth 20 million rupees because, as he says, “these are the main sources of sin”. The Maulana and his Shura (council) met with Freemuse in Imam Dheri Village on 4 March 2007, and discussed the issues about prohibition of music.

The Maulana said that earlier the government promised that it would establish a system governed by Islamic Shariah (Islamic Law), but it had broken its promise.

“Now we have no other option but to reorganize our movement and work for a society purged of all types of evils including music, dancing and drinking alcohol”, he reiterated and maintained that music is strictly forbidden in Islam and those who support it are “friends of the devil”.

“Close within three days — or you will be blown away.” This threat by the religious extremists became a glaring reality when a music and video centre was blown away on 13 March 2007 in the Bakhshali Village of District Mardan in north-west Pakistan.

The huge bomb blast badly damaged main door, pans, show cases and the roof of the shop. It was heard in the surrounding villages up to the distance of five kilometres. The blast has also damaged the adjacent shops and the market.

Locals say that it was close to midnight when the powerful bomb blast and blew away New Graphics Video Centre in the main bazaar of Bakhshali in District Mardan, approximately 50 kilometres away from the provincial capital.

On 17 March, 2007 two separate attacks on music centres left one killed and two seriously injured in Mardan and Peshawar as extremist groups had intensified their campaign against all forms of entertainment in KP.

Activists of an unidentified extremist religious group attacked Bakhshali Bazaar in District Mardan. They shot dead the watchman of the Seven Star music centre because he defended the centre.

Lal Masjid administration Islamabad gave 30 days dead-line on March 25, 2007 to the owners of CD shops for winding up their business or warned for dire consequences. On 06 April, 2007, students of a religious seminary burnt music CDs, video recorders and TV-sets worth 1.5 million rupees in the federal capital of Pakistan.

On March 31, 2007, petrol bombs were thrown into a cable operator’s office on the Rawalpindi road and a CD shop opposite the Kohat airbase was destroyed by an explosion. In the Bahawalnagar locality, armed men lobbed the petrol bombs into the cable operator’s office. It caused fire which destroyed the equipment. The owner, Kamran, told police that the armed men had asked him to get out of the office and then hurled the bombs into the office and destroyed the machinery.

On April 7, 2007, the Sangam music centre was attacked in Darra Adam Khel, KP and on April 12, 2007, at least 15 armed militants belonging to Lakki Marwat district set up a road blockade in Serai Gambila village and took away audiocassettes from the vehicles plying that road.
Witnesses said the militants destroyed all the audiocassettes with a hammer that they were carrying and warned the drivers against listening to music. The militants stayed there for about two-and-a-half hours and checked every passing vehicle. They even checked a police vehicle and confiscated audiotapes found in the vehicle. They also warned them to make women passengers sit in the back seats rather than near them in front seats.

On May 4, 2007, two bomb blasts in Charsadda destroyed seven CD shops, a cycle workshop and a hair-cutting salon. Another two bombs went off near the main gate of a school in a Gujarat village in Mardan. The first explosion occurred at the Ayaz Market in the Charsadda Old Bazaar, destroying four CD shops and a bicycle shop.

On May 7, 2007, the local Taliban Shoora imposed a ban on sale of CDs and cassettes and music in buses and passenger coaches in North Waziristan. The Shoora also ordered owners of music and video shops in Miramshah to wind up their businesses immediately.
Armed volunteers raided music centres and CD shops in the town and asked the shopkeepers to stop playing music.

On May 10, 2007, two explosions in a market in the Par Hoti area in Mardan damaged seven music and video shops. Seven other shops were also damaged. Owners of shops in the Yousaf market condemned the attack, saying they hardly earned Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 a day, but the militants had deprived them of their only means of livelihood.

On May 17, 2007, unidentified persons delivered pamphlets to owners of video and CD shops asking them to wind up their business within 10 days in Nowshehra.

On June 4, 2007, two bomb blasts destroyed two CD shops in different parts of the Peshawar city, but no loss of life was reported. The first blast took place in Bazaar-i-Mustafa, blowing up a shop owned by Shahid. Another CD shop situated near a mosque was destroyed when a bomb planted in a ghee can exploded outside the shop, badly damaging it.

On 19 June, 2007, the Taliban have banned TV and video CDs in public in the Wazir areas of South Waziristan, warning that strict punishment will be meted out to violators.
A pamphlet issued by Mujahideen Waziristan and Aman (Peace) Committee chief Qasim Khan declared that the decision would take effect from June 20.
“No tea shop or restaurant in Wana, Azam Warsak, Kaloosha and Angoor Adda will be allowed to show TV shows or play CDs and violators will be fined Rs 20,000 and their establishments will be demolished,” the pamphlet pasted in Wana’s Rustam Bazaar read.

On June 21, 2007, the owners of two leading video shops were warned of dire consequences unless they wind up the sale of video compact discs (VCDs) within two months. Letters were sent anonymously through postal system to Shabana Videos and Bilal CD Shop in Nishtarabad.

Taliban blew up a CD shop in a shopping centre in Bilitang of KP on June 24, 2007. Traders observed a strike to protest against the blast and demanded the administration to provide security to businessmen. The CD shop’s owner, Tariq Khan, said the Taliban had given him no advance warning.

On June 26, 2007, two shops were completely destroyed and 10 others were damaged partially when a bomb exploded in a CD market in Shabqadar Bazaar of Charsadda, KP.
The explosion occurred in the Zainullah CD market.

On June 28, 2007, three CD shops were blown up in the Matani locality, police said. The shops, located in different markets of the Mattani Bazaar, were completely destroyed in the blasts. Owners of the shops, Akhtar Munir, Hamayun and Iftikhar told the police that they had not received any prior letters or calls for the closure of their businesses.

According to reports, the extremists destroyed 25 music shops during June 2007, there were more than 20 bomb attacks on music shops in KP.

On July 4, 2007, five music shops were burnt in Miramshah Bazaar in the North Waziristan Agency. Local people said that unidentified men sprinkled petrol over the shops at the main bazaar and set them on fire. All shops were gutted.

On August 14, 2007, three music shops were damaged when explosive devices of mild intensity went off, officials said. Three other shops were also damaged.
The three explosions took place inside the music shops in the Landi Kotal bazaar, said Rehan Khattak, the political tehsildar of Landi Kotal. He said four shop owners Ahmad Shah and Shamsher, and Ibrar Khan and Mian Wali had been arrested because the explosives had been placed inside the shops.

Three music shops were destroyed and several others were damaged on 25 August 2007 in Buner, KP. Meanwhile, police defused a bomb planted in Saidu Sharif courts. The District Police Officer said the bomb disposal squad had defused a small remote-controlled bomb.

On August 26, 2007, three music centres were blown up in Swari bazaar of Buner. The improvised explosive devices exploded at intervals which created panic in the area. The targeted centres included Mian Yousaf Music Centre, Malik Cassette House and Ismail Music Centre. The blasts partially damaged dozens of nearby shops.

As many as 40 video shops were destroyed in Mingora when explosives planted inside two adjacent CD and video markets went off simultaneously on September 8, 2007. However, no loss to life was caused as the incident took place early in the morning.

Militants blew up a music centre in lhsanullah Market of Charsadda, on September 2, 2007. The music centre was completely destroyed. However, no loss of life was reported.

On September 9, 2007, powerful explosion in the town of Mingora destroyed over 50 shops in two adjacent music and video markets. The explosion in the Ali Plaza damaged 20 shops on the first floor and 20 on the ground floor. Another 10 shops of cosmetics and two hair-cutting salons were destroyed in an adjacent market. Millions of rupees worth of goods were destroyed in the fire that engulfed the buildings after the bomb blast.

A famous singer Gulzaar said if the government encouraged singers, they could hold gatherings for entertainment-starved public and sing poetry of Sufi poet Rehman Baba and Khushal Khan Khattak.

A CD shop was blown up by unidentified attackers near the Islampura area in Saidu Sharif with an improvised explosive device. The blast also damaged some nearby grocery shops. The bomb was planted outside the shop of Gul Shad situated in Fazal Bacha Market.

On September 13, 2007, Six CD shops, a saloon and two tailoring shops were completely damaged in a powerful blast in a market in Bilitang town, 8 km from Rawalpindi road, destroyed nine shops, police said.

On September 15, 2007, a video centre was destroyed completely and more than a dozen shops damaged partially when an improvised explosive device went off in the Pir Baba area, near the shrine of Hazrat Pir Baba. Two persons received minor injuries.

The explosion completely destroyed the Insaaf Music Centre, owned by one Dilroze. About 14 adjacent shops were partially damaged.

Dozens of local Taliban extremists attacked and ransacked a hotel in Mingora in KP Province, on 18 September 2007 because people were dancing and playing music there. They smashed the windowpanes and threatened the owner to close the function; otherwise his hotel would be blown up. Two CD shops, Shokat and Nasir centers were blown up in Togh Bala town on September 21, 2007.

25 people were injured in a bomb blast at the Hussain CD Market, Hussaini Plaza, in the heart of Peshawar. The bomb, planted on a water cooler, went off at 4 pm when a large number of people were present in the plaza. It was a Russian-made time device, which badly damaged at least 10 shops, police and officials of the Bomb Disposal Squad said.

On October 9, 2007, at least 25 people were injured and 30 shops were blown when a bomb went off at a CD shop in Hussaini Plaza Peshawar; while 30 shops were blown up in Malakand.

On October 10, 2007, 11 CD shops were damaged in a bomb blast in a market in the Gumbat town of Kohat. The blast in the Saleem Khan CD market on the main Rawalpindi road completely destroyed three shops and partially damaged eight others.

On October 16, 2007, at least 5 shops, two videos and CDs centres, two tailoring shops and one hair cutting salon – were destroyed and about a dozen others damaged in an explosion that occurred in the Mian Mandi Bazaar. A music shop was blown up and several others damaged in a bomb blast in the main bazaar in Ahmadabad town of Karak.

Witnesses said the explosive device went off outside the Ajay Music and CD Centre around midnight, blowing it up and damaging other adjacent shops. However, no loss of life was reported.

On October 28, 2007, a music shop owner Syed Raza ‘voluntarily’ set on fire more than 10,000 CDs in the presence of a large number of people after receiving death threats from the local Taliban. Syed Raza invited a local cleric to torch the CDs in the presence of a large number of people near the old bus stand in the Kohat city. The president of the music shop owners association has already given an undertaking to the police on behalf of 100 businessmen to voluntarily wind up their businesses in a month.

Militants blew up a music centre at Babar music centre near the Ghamkol Afghan refugee camp in Kohat; while another music centre in Teri Bazaar in the Karak district was blown up, which damaged showcases and doors of five adjacent shops.

On November 22, 2007, a powerful bomb blast in PRC Chowk in Mardan town of KP Province, damaged 10 shops selling music CDs and a bank, though no one was injured.

On November 23, 2007, three video shops were blown up near Mardan and a bomb went off near Chota Lahor police station in Swabi. Police sources said a homemade device had been used in the explosion at Chamdheri village in the suburbs of Mardan.

A CD shop of Daud Khan and a barber shop were blown up in the Sheikh Mohammadzai area of Peshawar on December 3, 2007; while unknown miscreants blown up three video shops in Swari Bazaar of Buner.

On November 25, 2007, the owners of at least 60 shops dealing in CDs, VCSs and other ‘objectionable’ items closed their business in the Karkhano Bazaar on the Torkham Road, Peshawar after they received warnings from militants. Owner of the market Haji Tariq confirmed that the threatening letters had been dropped at some markets, but his market had not received any such letter.

On December 4, 2007, some unidentified militants blew up a video shop situated on the Mardan-Malakand road. However, no loss of life was reported. The explosion damaged the windowpanes and shutter of the shop, situated at Mangal Bagh Chowk.

On December 6, 2007, five CD and video shops were blown up in Chota Lahor, about 15 kilometers from the district headquarters Swabi. One of the shops was located close to a government school. The boundary wall and windows of the school were damaged by the blast.

On December 11, 2007, four CD and video shops were destroyed in different bomb explosions in the Badha Bera Bazaar of Peshawar and adjoining areas. The shops were situated in the bazaar and along the Tela Band Road near Spin Jumaat (white mosque), police said. An other CD shop was destroyed at Tull Road in Hangu; however, no casualty was reported.

On December 16, 2007, a number of CD shops were damaged in an explosion at the Karim Manzil on the Gaju Khan road in Mardan. The explosive device was planted near the gate of the Shuaib CD centre which went off with a big bang and damaged several adjacent shops. No loss of life was reported.

On December 20, 2007, a powerful bomb explosion damaged a shop of electronic goods in Pandu Chowk in Peshawar. On December 23, 2007: A CD shop was blown up in the Irfan Market in the Lower Azakhel area of Nowshehra. An internet cafe and two CD shops were blown up in an other incident.

On Dec 24, 2007, four more CD shops were destroyed in two consecutive bomb blasts in the Surizai village in the outskirts of Peshawar. CD shops were owned by Gohar Ali, Gul Rahman and Hashmat Khan. A mini cinema house and two nearby houses were also damaged in the blasts.

On December 27, 2007, over a dozen shops were damaged in a blast in Bazaar Kalan of Dera Ismail Khan. The blast occurred in Imran Video Centre. Fourteen other shops were also badly damaged in the explosion.

Three CD shops were blown up in Wazir Dhand area of the Khyber Agency on December 29, 2007. Some unidentified men had planted explosives near the shops, adjacent to the Karkhano Market of Peshawar, which went off in the middle of the night.

On January 21, 2006, several music and video shops and two internet cafes in the center of the bazaar in Tanak district were blown up allegedly by the extremists; while the explosion did not cause any human loss as it occurred late in the night.

The supporters of Taliban, also from time to time distribute pamphlets warning shopkeepers of stop playing music and movies otherwise a stiff action would be taken against them.

On 12 April 2006, a bomb blast in Bannu reportedly destroyed 10 music shops. The explosion did not cause any casualties because it had occurred at night.

On 22 April, 2006, Punjab education ex-minister Mian Imran Masood had imposed ban on dance, music and Indian songs in educational institutions to promote patriotism during his speech at the Sialkot Institute of Information Technology and NISA Girls College.

On 18 May, 2006, a pro-Taliban militant cleric announced a ban on music and video shops in the Hamuzai area near Miramshah. The announcement was made through loud speakers from mosques, asking men to grow beards and give up un-Islamic practices including listening to music and using narcotics “Violators will be punished according to Shariat. Un-Islamic audio cassettes were re-banned on 11 June, 2006 by local Taliban and religious leaders in North Waziristan.

In August, hundreds of Muslims in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province set ablaze 20 television sets following a local mullah’s statement on radio that watching TV was a sin. Also, the influential cleric Abdullah Shah had decreed that TV was ‘not allowed in Islam’ after followers asked him for a ruling.

On 2 September 2006, in Darra Adam Khel, a homemade bomb exploded outside a video shop, damaging several shops and slightly injuring one person. No one claimed responsibility for the attack. Two music shops bombed on 11 September, 2006 in a bazaar in Bannu, KP.

On 13 September, 2006, in Lahore, the student wing of Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) had intensified protest campaign against the start of music classes in Punjab University.
According to news reports, a large number of the IJT activists distributed leaflets outside the varsity mosque in the Old and New Campus of the University on 8 and 9 September, and raised slogans against the varsity administration for starting MA Music classes in the varsity.

The PUASA also criticized the varsity administration for starting admissions to the MA Music classes. According to the PUASA President Prof Dr Mumtaz Salik, the Association would oppose “negative activities” like music, drama and acting in the university.

On 21 September, 2006, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s member of North-West Frontier Province (PK) Assembly Zakir Shah has called for a complete closure of music centres, cinemas and cable services and ban on video games and obscenity-oriented activities during the holy month of Ramzan.

A large number of workers of the banned TNSM set on fire around 150 TV sets along with 210 VCRs and 6,000 on March 27, 2006. According to reports around 6,000 people attended the ceremony at Kuza Banda in Swat. Divisional president of the organisation, Maulana Mohammad Alam and Maulana Abdul Haq said that VCR and TVs were spreading vulgarity and obscenity among the locals. The speakers warned the government to ban FM stations broadcasting transmission in the area. Around were torched on the occasion.
The city police Peshawar set on fire hundreds of ‘obscene’ film CDs and posters at Chowk Yaadgaar on Aug 02, 2006 followed by directives of MMA government. Police torched CDs of Pashto, Punjabi, Urdu, Indian and English films, stage dramas and songs and posters of film actresses, and even some cricketers. Police officials claimed that the CDs had obscene movies.

According to reports on November 10, 2005, following a sermon by Maulana Rehanullah alias Pir Sahib, an Imam of a mosque in Mingora in Swat district, KP, people brought 250 television sets, VCRs and audio and video tapes from their homes and publicly burnt them amid slogans of Allah-o-Akbar (Allah is Greatest).

On 28 January, 2005, two previously banned young music singers Tariq Hussain Bacha and Zeeshan Khan had to play in secret because their music was banned by fundamentalists. Inspite of the ban by extremist forces they sold thousands of albums, and got popularity in and out of Pakistanis. Peshawar’s main concert venue was closed, and the fundamentalists banned other public performances on the grounds of protecting public morality.

On 8, August 2005, Abdullah Mehsud, announced the implementation of strict Islamic laws in North and South Waziristan and urged all music and video shops to close down their businesses. Several shops were blown up in South Waziristan after the shopkeepers ignored the message.

On, 3 August 2004, Religious leaders in Indian administered Kashmir had sought a ban on a pop song by two Pakistani singers. Clerics condemn Kashmir pop song which was a big hit with Kashmiris. A line in the song, Kachi Pencil (Fragile Pencil), says God has written the fate of man with a fragile pencil.

Religious clerics declared song as blasphemous. One of the Molvi Ghulam Rasool said “There was no question of Allah [God] writing our fate with a fragile pencil”. He had appealed to those owning the cassette to throw it away. But despite the condemnation and appeals, the sale of cassette remained briskly.

On 14th October, 2004, a wedding ceremony was attacked with grenade by an unknown attacker at the Afghan refugee camp in Jalala, outside Peshawar. The deadly attack killed four persons and injured 35 people. The guests were listening to music during ceremony and the music was banned in some public places.

In 2003, Pakistani musicians living near the country’s border with Afghanistan being harassed by hardliners attempting to stamp out music and movies. Several artists in Peshawar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhuwah Province were arrested and treated unfairly by police on the request of hardliner Islamic parties.

Pashto-language singer Gulzar Alam was humiliated when arrested while performing at a private wedding.

On 15 December, 2003, Salman Ahmad, the pony-tailed legend of Pakistani rock met with madrassa students and signs autographs at a religious school, despite the ban in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The text of a letter written by extremist groups

“All music centres, CD centres and internet cafes’ owners are hereby informed to find another business for themselves within three days and repent for their evil actions; otherwise their shops will be blown away with bombs”.

“If you cannot support us then never try to come in our way because opposing us is similar to opposing the teachings of the Holy Quran”, the letter read.

According to the cleric Maulana Fazlullah, he burnt TV sets, video equipment, computers and digital cameras worth 20 million rupees because, as he says, “these are the main sources of sin”. The Maulana and his Shura (council) met with Freemuse in Imam Dheri Village on 4 March 2007, and discussed the issues about prohibition of music.

The Maulana said that earlier the government promised that it would establish a system governed by Islamic Shariah (Islamic Law), but it had broken its promise.

“Now we have no other option but to reorganise our movement and work for a society purged of all types of evils including music, dancing and drinking alcohol”, he reiterated and maintained that music is strictly forbidden in Islam and those who support it are “friends of the devil”.