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Music lovers to 'face music' in Pak

Anyone found playing music in public will end up paying Rs 500, according to a new diktat issued by the Taliban.
IANS | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2007 06:40 PM IST

Having banned music in Pakistan's tribal areas, the Taliban are now imposing a fine of 500 rupees for any one playing it in public.

They have also intensified their attacks on shops and video stores selling music CDs and DVDs and cassettes of locally made Urdu, English and Indian films.

The worst sufferers of the new 'pay Rs 500, if you play' regime are the taxi drivers who complain that even possession of a CD player in their vehicles is enough to invite punishment.

The latest target was in Bannu, the hometown of Akram Durrani, chief minister of North West Frontier Province. The attackers came in broad daylight, destroyed a video shop and dumped the damaged CDs, DVDs and other material with impunity in front of the local police station.

More stringent punishment could be coming, local reports said.

The militants have distributed pamphlets in Pushto language warning drivers of private and public vehicles to avoid playing music or face "capital punishment".

"I was stopped by the Taliban at Sarband village near Bara, Khyber Agency, last Saturday. They searched my taxi and found some music cassettes, and then asked me to pay Rs 500 as a fine," Khanimullah, a Peshawar-based taxi driver, told Daily Times.

Another taxi driver, Ali Khan, recounted a similar experience at Sangu near the Khyber Agency border two weeks ago, when men claiming to be local Taliban fined him Rs 500 because he had a Pashto music cassette in his car.

"They said music is a sin and prohibited in Islam," he said. The hardline Daawat-ul-Mujahideen had distributed pamphlets in Pushto saying music was banned in vehicles plying in Bajaur Agency.

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