Pakistan: String of bomb attacks on CD shops across the northwest province
Militants emulating the Taliban have blown up numerous music shops in northwest Pakistan this week. In the regional capital, a bomb blast damaged almost all 40 shops in the Hussain CD market on 9 October 2007
Excerpts of the news-stream from the area:
Peshawar, Hussaini Plaza 25 people were injured, five of them were stated to be in critical condition, in a bomb blast at the Hussain CD Market, Hussaini Plaza, in the heart of Peshawar on 9 October 2007, witnesses and security officials said. 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.
Nishtarabad Video Shops Union President Sher Dil told Daily Times the violence against CD shops was orchestrated by intelligence agencies. “We’re being targeted to malign the image of some people.” He said the blast damaged almost all 40 shops in the market, causing losses in the millions. Around 1,200 people are engaged in the business at Nishtarabad market. “We suspect … people who recently sent letters warning CD-shop owners to shut their businesses, saying it is un-Islamic,” the news agency AP quoted police chief Abdul Majid Marwat as saying. Shopkeepers in Nishtarabad had received threatening letters from militants in June. Some people had also visited markets and threatened shopkeepers.
Mattani Separately, four CD-markets in Mattani, bordering Darra Adamkhel, were bombed on 8 October, destroying 12 music- and CD-shops.
In a village a policeman was killed after militants had blown up three music shops deemed un-Islamic and traded fire with police, reported AFP. The following day, two blasts rocked a town damaging three more music shops and a hair salon. The barber lost both his hands in the explosion.
Malakand About 30 shops, mostly of videos and CDs, were damaged by explosions in three markets in Batkhela tehsil. The explosion of improvised explosive devices in Shan Market, Marhaba Market and Zaman Plaza created panic in the area.
Witnesses said 30 to 40 militants, with their faces covered, reached the markets in the local main bazaar at about 1:30 am and asked some tailors working there to vacate their shops. As they left the market, they heard explosions and the attackers left.
Mingora and Lower Dir At least 12 blasts were carried out, nine in Swat and three in Malakand agency, while two barber shops were targeted in Lower Dir on the night between Monday and Tuesday by unknown miscreants. No human loss was, however, reported in these blasts.
Details said seven bomb blasts were carried out in Charbagh Tehsil and two in Nangoli village in Swat district. Intense firing followed the explosions in Charbagh town. However, no loss to life was reported.
In Batkhela, three explosions occurred in Diyar Khan Market, destroying a video shop and damaging seven others. Most of the blasts were reportedly aimed at harassing the people. In Lower Dir, two barber saloons were blown up at Kumbar Bazaar in Maidan on Monday night. The blasts carried out at the shops of two brothers, Karimullah and Hazratullah, also damaged 14 other shops. Thuds of the blasts were so deep and severe that people came out of their houses in panic.
At least 30 CD shops and music/video centres were destroyed in blasts at three Batkhela markets. Political authorities and Malakand Levy officials said Tuesday that the explosions razed to ground about 30 shops and centres including six in Shaan Market, 14 in Zaman Plaza and eight in Marhaba Market. The explosions also damaged shutters of nearby shops. The Malakand Levy has registered a case against unknown miscreants and started investigation.
CD shops in Karak attacked Nasir Iqbal from Daily Dawn reported on 11 October that a man was injured and several CD and music shops were damaged in two explosions in Karak that day. Officials said a third bomb planted outside a music shop was defused. It is the first time that CD and music shops have been targeted in the Karak town.
The first blast took place in the Mubarik Shah CD centre early in the morning, damaging adjacent shops and injuring the owner of a hair-cutting salon, Dilfaraz, who was opening his shop at the time. The injured was taken to a local hospital from where he was shifted to Peshawar because of his critical condition.
One hour later, local people said, another bomb exploded outside the Junaid music and CD shop, damaging windowpanes and doors of nearby shops. The officials said a bomb disposal squad was called from Bannu after the first explosion, which combed the area for explosive devices. It defused a bomb placed outside the Bobby music and CD centre.
‘The Pakistan Taliban’ An in-depth Special Report in The Guardian explains that it is the “mullahs, whose religious education is often minimal, who are forming the private militias labelled ‘the Pakistan Taliban’. In fact, they are little more than a fractious confederation of mini-states run by warlords. Together they have succeeded in expelling almost all representatives of any government authority from their territory and in doing so, some analysts fear, have laid the foundations for a state without borders or flags, but which has a justice system and a common ethnicity, ideology, culture and religion.”