Pakistan: Religious extremists destroyed 25 music shops

4 July 2007
In June 2007 alone, there were more than 20 bomb attacks on music shops in north-west Pakistan. On 4 July, five more music shops were set ablaze with petrol for “promoting obscenity and destroying religious values”

By Pakistan Press Foundation, PPF, in Karachi

The incident on 4 July 2007 happened in the bazaar of Miramshah, the main town in the restive Pakistan’s Federally Administrated Tribal Areas that border Afghanistan. Fundamentalists had earlier warned shop owners in the city to stop the business of selling music and video tapes and discs or be ready to face the consequences.

The Taliban and other religious extremists in Pakistan have been waging a campaign of threats, intimidation and violent attacks against video and music shops because they believe that movies and pop music promote obscenity and are aimed at destroying the religious values of the people.

Three CD shops destroyed in Peshawar
In Peshawar on 28 June 2007, three CD shops were blown up in the Matani locality. The shops, located in different markets of the Mattani Bazaar, were completely destroyed in the blasts. This was the fourth incident of attacks on music shops in the city. Earlier, video and CD shops were attacked on March 18, June 12 and 15.

Threatening letters had been sent anonymously through postal system to Shabana Videos and Bilal CD Shop in Nishtarabad. Terming video centres ‘dens of obscenity and vulgarity’, the letters stated: “You should learn a lesson from the treatment meted out to ‘dens of vulgarity’ in Mardan and Charssada. We give you two months’ time for winding up this business, failing which you will be responsible for all the consequences.”

12 music shops attacked in Charsadda
In Charsadda on 26 June, two shops were completely destroyed and 10 others were damaged partially when a bomb exploded in a CD market in Shabqadar Bazaar. The explosion occurred in the Zainullah CD market. Police said the blast was carried out by some unknown people.

On the same day, Mishal Khan, president of the Muttahida Shopkeepers Association of Charsadda, received a threatening letter from a previously unknown organisation, Tanzim Taliban, that set a seven day deadline for those involved in “adultery, running net cafés and newspaper owners publishing editions on women” to stop their “un-Islamic” activities or they would be subjected to suicide attacks.

Also on 24 June, another music shop in Bilitang town in the North West Frontier Province was bombed. Traders in Biltang held a strike to protest against the blast and demanded the administration provide security to businessmen. Press reports said the police had asked the merchants to arrange for their own security and to “try to switch over to other businesses”. Police blamed the local Taliban for the blast and said they were trying to track down the perpetrators.

Around 35 music shops have been bombed in recent months in Charsadda alone, forcing more than half of the 100 such shops in the area to close down.

Ban on music in North Waziristan
In North Waziristan, Miramshah, the local Taliban Shoora imposed a ban on sale of CDs and cassettes and music in buses and passenger coaches on 7 May 2007.

Private radio for radical religious teachings
In some remote parts of the North-West Frontier Province, radical clerics are running private FM radio stations to propagate their teachings, while anonymous threats are sent to radio stations which play music in their programmes.

Following the mosque confrontation in Islamabad a private Islamist FM radio station launched a jihad against the government. The religious leader Maulana Fazlullah asked, in broadcasts on his FM channel on July 3 and 4, his supporters to take up arms against the government to avenge the action taken against Lal Masjid and carry out suicide attacks.

More information
For further information, please contact Owais Aslam Ali, Secretary General, tel: (92-21) 263-1123, e-mail: owais.ali[AT], or PPF, Press Centre, Shahrah Kamal Ataturk, Karachi 74200, Pakistan, tel: +92 21 263 3215, fax: +92 21 263 1275, e-mail: foe[AT]

The information contained in this update is the responsibility of PPF. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit PPF.





Click to see map in
North West Frontier Province



Pakistan Press Foundation – 4 July 2007:
‘CD shops set on fire in Miramshah’

Pakistan Press Foundation – 29 June 2007:

‘Three CD shops blown up’

Pakistan Press Foundation – 25 June 2007:

‘Taliban blow up CD shop, letter threatens local media’

Pakistan Press Foundation – continuously updated:

Index of stories concerning freedom of expression

Reuters – 13 June 2007:

‘Pakistan ‘Taliban’ Bombs Shops in Morality Bid’

South Asia Terrorism Portal – countinously updated:
‘North West Frontier Province Timeline – 2007’
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