Pakistan: Taliban group issues new ban on sale of music

23 August 2007
If you sell music CDs and cassettes in Zargari and other areas in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, you will now be fined 50,000 rupees, reports Daily India on 22 August 2007

By Freemuse

A ban on music has been imposed by a local Taliban council in Zargari, Shanawari, Chappari Naryab, Naryab, Kahi villages and some other areas, reports a correspondent for Daily India from Peshawar on 22 August 2007.

According to officials and residents, the local Taliban ‘shura’ has also set a deadline for owners of music shops to wind up their businesses, or face dire consequences.

District Police Officer Ghulam Mohammad Khan was quoted by the newspaper The Dawn as saying that the move would help eliminate the menace of narcotics and other illegal activities in the area.

More music shops bombed
In June and July 2007, more than 25 music shops were attacked and destroyed in north-west Pakistan. On 14 August 2007, three more music shops were damaged by explosive devices in the Landi Kotal bazaar, five kilometres from the Afghan border in the area of Khyber Agency. Three other shops were also damaged.

Officials said a letter was found near one of the targeted shops which warned of further attacks against owners of music shop if they did not wind up their business. The letter was supposedly issued by a little-known religious organisation, “Amr Bil Maroof Wa Nahi Anil Munkir”.

Owners of music shops said they had not received any warning from any religious organisation or cleric. The political tehsildar, however, said the administration had warned local shopkeepers to be vigilant against such attacks. He said additional personnel of the Khasadar force had been deployed in the Landi Kotal bazaar.

Parallel government
Local as well as the federal government of Pakistan is blamed for accepting or even encouraging the extremist elements.

“Taliban and other extremist groups, like Lashkar-i-Islam, are openly functioning in many districts. They are running a parallel government, but nobody stops them,” said a member of the minority non-Muslim community.According to Aftab Alexander Mughal, writing for, the militants are operating in 19 of the 24 districts of the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Since 2004 more than a hundred people have died and many more have been injured in the province.

People in Peshawar of Christian, Hindu and Sikh belief are living under constant fear after a threatening event in which they were asked by the militants to convert to Islam. On 7 and 8 August 2007 anonymous threatening letters in urdu language were reportedly dropped in peoples’ houses and posted to the various churches as well. The letters asked the religious minorities to convert to Islam by 17 August and if they failed to do so their locality would be destroyed.

About the Taliban
The Taliban is a political group aiming to realize Islamic fundamentalism. The word Taliban literally means ‘religious students’. The group was in power in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 where it aimed at establishing “the purest Islamist state in the world”. It bans music, movies and tv, and forces women to wear traditional clothing and stay in the home. It also bans shaving of beards, keeping of pigeons, flying kites, displaying of pictures or portraits, western hairstyles, music and dancing at weddings, gambling, “sorcery,” and not praying at prayer times.

The overwhelming majority of the Taliban movement are Pashtuns from southern Afghanistan and western Pakistan.

According to a report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, entitled ‘The Taliban’s Propaganda Activities’, the Taliban uses flyers, and the Internet, which used to be banned in the past, as means of propaganda activity. Their messages are simple, often underpinned by threats and violence, and appear to be most effective when directed to the Pashtun tribal audience on both sides of the Afghan–Pakistani border.





Click to see map in
North West Frontier Province


Sources / ANI – 22 August 2007:
‘Taliban bans sale of music CDs, narcotics in Zargari’ – 15 August 2007:

‘Menacing Mail’

Pakistan Press Foundation / Dawn – 14 August 2007:

‘Three music shops damaged in Landi Kotal explosions’

Pakistan Press Foundation – continuously updated:

Index of stories concerning freedom of expression

A SIPRI Project Paper by Tim Foxley – June 2007:

‘The Taliban’s propaganda activities: how well is the Afghan insurgency communicating and what is it saying?’ (PDF)

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