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Taliban bomb music and video markets for "promoting obscenity"; over 50 shops destroyed

(PPF/IFEX) - A powerful explosion in the town of Mingora, in the Swat district of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan, destroyed over 50 shops in two adjacent music and video markets on 7 September 2007.

The explosion in the Ali Plaza damaged 20 shops on the first floor and 20 on the ground floor. Another 10 shops of cosmetics and two hair-cutting salons were destroyed in an adjacent market. Millions of rupees worth of goods were destroyed in the fire that engulfed the buildings after the bomb blast.

According to press reports, the owners of the markets and shopkeepers had received warnings from local Taliban members, warning them to close what the militants described as illegal and "un-Islamic" businesses or otherwise to be ready for explosions.

The police were informed about the threats but took no action. District Police Officer Mohammad Iqbal Khan confirmed that leaflets had been pasted on walls and shops in the markets, warning the shopkeepers that the place would be blown up if their businesses were not closed.

Members of the Taliban and other religious extremists 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 destroy religious values.

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