An executive order banning music shops spread shock and fear among 200 shop owners
Reporter: Marvaiz Khan
Duration: 6 minutes 44 seconds
This radio report tells about religious militants’ attacks on music centres, and the reactions from the owners of the music business in Swat Valley of North-West Pakistan.
It is a comprehensive report that includes interviews with the government authorities, music centres’ owners and Maulana Fazlullah, the firebrand militant leader who instigated the people to burn their tv sets, tape recorders, computers and CDs because listening to music and doing music business is prohibited in his concept of Islam.
In wake of the intensified attacks on music centres a large number of music centres are closed and the people have switched over to other professions.
Listen to the radio report: (in Pashto language)
Militants destroyed the music market in Mingora in Matta area of the Swat Valley. Photo by Marvaiz Khan
Transcription of the radio report
[Traditional Pashtun tune]
Composed by Hamayun
[Voice of Marvaiz Khan]
There was a time when Swat Valley in the north of Pakistan was world-famous for its natural beauty, historical importance and cultural diversity.
Yousafzai tribes of Pashtuns (Afghans) are living in Swat valley. They have a great passion for their music. Every evening after finishing their routine activities, these Pashtuns come together in a Hujra (Pashtuns’ social and cultural club) and enjoy the artistically rich Pashtun music. They sing their folk songs which tell about their unfulfilled desires and aspirations.
When the six-party religious alliance of Mutahida Majlas-e-Amal (MMA) won a landslide victory in the previous general elections in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan, they banned Music in public gatherings and closed the doors of Nishtar Hall (The only one cultural centre in Peshawar capital of North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan) for all types of musical and cultural gatherings.
Following the extremist policy, different pro-Taliban militant groups launched attacks on music centres which caused irreparable human and financial loss to the people related to the business. The pro-Taliban groups claimed that playing music is prohibited in Islam and all the music centres must be closed without any delay.
Likewise all the musical and cultural activities come to a stand still in Swat valley. The hardliner pro-Taliban militant leader Maulana Fazlullah, using his illegal FM channel, instigated the people to burn tv sets, computers, music plays, CDs and tape recorders. Reports say that people burnt electronic music devices worth six million Pakistani rupees (approximately 100,000 US dollars) in the area.
After the popularity of Maulana Fazlullah, the district administration of Swat also issued an order to all music centres to stop functioning immediately. Locals say that there are more than 200 music centres in the valley.
In this regard when I asked Syed Muhammad Javid, District Coordination Officer (DCO) in Swat area, he replied that the music centres were promoting obscenity and vulgarity in the area and that the government would never permit this. He elaborated: