Pakistan: Taliban campaign against music still in full swing



Taliban campaign against music still in full swing

Militants bombed or torched more than a dozen music shops in the second week of November 2011 in the Swabi district of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province and the city of Miramshah in North Waziristan, according to numerous reports, wrote Majeed Babar for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.

Reportedly the bomb explotions happened after threats to close the music shops’ socalled ‘un-Islamic businesses’. Majeed Babar wrote:

“The wave of hate and destruction against such local music and popular culture in Khyber Pukhtunkhwah started under a government led by the Mutahida Majlis-e Amal (MMA), an Islamic religious alliance, in 2002, when thousands of musicians and singers were forced to abandon a 200-year-old Dabgari music bazaar.

The cultural clampdown early last decade was so intense that, at one point, burning music CDs and cassettes became a regular Friday festivity at local parks in Peshawar. The Khyber Pukhtunkhwa chief minister at the time (when it was called the Northwest Frontier Province), Akram Khan Durrani, blamed bazaar closures and cassette bonfires on thriving obscenity.

During the campaign against ‘obscenity’, female images were scrapped from advertising and cinema billboards and posters, the only concert hall in the city of Peshawar was locked down, and dozens of musicians and singers were given just three choices: go into hiding, leave the country, or leave the profession.

Chased and kidnapped
Those who chose to stay were chased, kidnapped, or otherwise targeted. Noted singers Gulzar Alam and Sardar Ali Yousafzai were attacked by armed men; Mushraff Bungash was kidnapped; performers were made to appear on television or otherwise publicly withdraw from artistic and musical activities considered ‘un-Islamic’.

The most recent attacks suggest that the Taliban is not lying low in pursuing its self-proclaimed agenda of Talibanizing the Pashtun-dominated tribal areas and Khyber Pukhtunkhwah.

So it is worth asking whether such restrictive attitudes to popular culture and Pashtu music will be allowed to dominate — on either or both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border — if the U.S. and Pakistani governments proceed with their stated aim of talking with the Taliban.”

14 killed, 120 injured
The Express Tribune wrote on 10 November 2011 that a report compiled by Pakistan Press Foundation on ‘threats/violence against musicians and attacks on music shops in Pakistan – 2000-2011′ has revealed that as many as 14 people were killed by the militants, five were kidnapped and more than 121 were injured in different incidents of violence over the past decade as a result of the militant ‘drive against vulgarity’.

According to Pakistan Press Foundation the extremist groups had carried out more than 97 attacks on CD/DVD and video shops while three wedding ceremonies and concerts were also attacked by militant groups in various parts of the country. Militants had also issued life threats and imposed bans on more than 13 musicians and musical bands while over 580 shops were destroyed or damaged in different attacks during last ten years.

Six people were killed and over 37 injured in a bomb explosion on 19 September 2011 that targeted a music and video CD market in Peshawar



Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty – 13 November 2011:
‘Pashtun Music Bazaars Still Being Targeted’

The Express Tribune – 10 November 2011:

‘Militant ‘drive against vulgarity’: 14 killed, 120 injured in last 10 years’

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Search: “music” + “bomb” + “Khyber”

11 November 2011
Explosion rocks CD market in Swabi
SOURCE: Pakistan Press Foundation

(PPF/IFEX) – Six shops were completely destroyed and two more were damaged in a bomb explosion that targeted a compact disc (CD) market in the Swabi district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhuwa province in Pakistan. The explosion took place late at night on November 10, 2011.

Unknown suspects planted explosives outside two CD shops in Javed Market, which houses many video and music CD shops. The explosion occurred at around 3:00 a.m. No casualties have been reported in the blast because no one was present in the market at night.

The blast completely destroyed six CD shops; two others were partially damaged. The police and the bomb disposal squad reached the scene soon after the blasts to gather evidence.

Safdar Hhayat Dawar, president of the Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ), told PPF that the owners of the CD shops have repeatedly been threatened by militants to look to alternate sources for their livelihood or face dire consequences.

More information

Pakistan Press Foundation
Press Centre, Shahrah Kamal Ataturk
Karachi 74200, Pakistan
ppf (@)
Phone: +92 21 263 3215

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