Pakistan: Extremists kill one, injure two in music shop attacks



Extremists kill one, injure two in attacks on music shops

Two separate terrorist attacks on music centres left one killed and two seriously injured in Mardan and Peshawar respectively as extremist religious groups have intensified their campaign against all forms of entertainment in north-west Pakistan

By Marvaiz Khan, Freemuse’s correspondent reporting from Peshawar

Saturday night 17 March 2007 activists of an unidentified extremist religious group attacked Bakhshali Bazaar in District Mardan, about 50 kilometres away from the provincial metropolis Peshawar. They shot dead the watchman of the Seven Star music centre because he defended the centre.

“Last night they came with the intention to destroy music shops in the market. When the watchman resisted they shot him dead. We took Darwish to the hospital but in way he succumbed to his injuries. Today Bakhshali market shopkeepers union have closed their shops in protest against the terrorist attacks on our market,” Sher Ali, a local shopkeeper told Freemuse on phone from Bakhshali Mardan.

Reports say that over the past few months bomb attacks on music centres and audio-video shops have raised in intensity and severity and a number of people have closed down their music businesses due to fear of local extremist religious groups.

“First they send a letter and give an ultimatum. If someone does not heed to their ultimatum they bomb their shops. We are feeling very insecure and confused about our future,” said Ahmad, a local music centre owner.

Two injured in Peshawar

In one another terrorist attack two music centres were blown away on Kohat Road in Peshawar, the provincial capital of North West Frontier Province that has become a hub of terrorist activities which also killed two high police officials in the past. The bomb blast seriously injured two shopkeepers.

“The bomb blast caused huge damage to six shops in the market and it broke pans of the nearby houses. Peshawar that was once the city of culture has now become the city of terror. It is very sad that law enforcement authorities are playing the role of silent spectators”, said Imran, who runs a music centre in Peshawar.

One of the shop-owners, Bashir Khan, said that hardliners – calling themselves the “Soldiers of Islam” – had left him a note several weeks ago, saying that music shops in the market should close their doors.

The guard of the shop said that an unidentified man had handed him a tin of cooking oil which exploded minutes after the man left.

Owners of music centres in Mardan and Peshawar have demanded of the government to provide protection to music businesses or they would take to the streets to protest against the increasing insecurity in the region.

Related articles in the media

The Associated Press / International Herald Tribune – 18 March 2007:

‘Bomb blast at music market in northwestern Pakistani city wounds 2 men, police say’

International Herald Tribune – 14 March 2007:

‘Islamic militants increasingly targeting Pakistan’

Google News – continuously updated:

Search ‘Taliban’ + ‘music’

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