07
May
07

Pakistanis smash cars for Islam

Around 200 armed men have forcibly halted dozens of cars and smashed their cassette players in northwestern Pakistan in a bid to impose Taliban-style values. A government official confirmed Saturday’s incident but did not say if authorities planned any action against the men who also smashed mobile phones and ordered men to grow beards.

The men took up positions beside a road near Khar, the main town in the tribal region of Bajaur, where they stopped and searched passing vehicles, witnesses said. “They smashed cassette players running music and mobile phones fitted with cameras,” a driver, whose vehicle was searched, said.

The driver, who preferred anonymity, also said the armed men had urged clean-shaven tribesmen to grow beards.

Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt is well-known as a hotbed of support for Taliban fighters in neighbouring Afghanistan. Heavily armed tribes also shelter many groups and individuals who wish to overthrow Pakistan’s government and replace it with a Taliban-style theocracy.

Critics say the government’s influence in the areas has weakened considerably since authorities signed a series of peace deals with some tribal leaders.

 

Music shops

On Friday, armed men also attacked music shops with explosive devices in the town of Charsadda in the neighbouring North West Frontier Province, destroying at least five.

Many Muslims believe that music and pictures are un-Islamic because they may help create an environment in which immoral acts can take place.

 

Last month, burqa-clad female students of an Islamic school or madrasa raided a brothel in the capital, Islamabad, and abducted three women for three days.

 

The top cleric of the mosque linked to the madrasa later threatened suicide attacks if the government used force to stop his movement.

 

Source: AlJazeera

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