Blasts destroy barber shops, music store

March 05, 2007


KHAR, March 4: Two barber shops and a music store were destroyed and four other outlets were partially damaged in two bomb blasts in Inayat Kallay bazaar, where pro-Taliban militants have issued threats against shaving off the beard and selling music CDs, witnesses and security officials said on Sunday.

The first bomb exploded at 9pm on Saturday, destroying two saloons and partially damaging two others. No casualty was reported.

In the second incident, a bomb planted in a music shop exploded after midnight, blowing up the shop and damaging two adjoining outlets.

Residents said that the sound of the blasts was heard in far-off areas, and created panic among tribesmen.

Over the past several weeks, militants have distributed pamphlets in various parts of the Bajaur tribal agency, telling barbers and music shops owners to close down what they called their un-Islamic businesses.

The pamphlets also warned the barbers and audio-video stores to get ready for serious consequences if they did not discontinue making shaves and trimming beards, or continued selling music CDs and DVDs in the area.

Most of the barbers have abandoned their business after the threats. Music shop owners have also switched to other businesses.

After the militants' warning last month, some 20 barber shops in the bazaar in Khar had hung out signs, saying: “We will not shave off beards.” Residents said the militants have also warned bank workers not to wear trousers and shirts and threatened them with “dire consequences” if they did not comply.

Officials said that the administration had beefed up security in bazaars and business centres in the tribal agency after the explosions.

Previous attacks on video and music shops were blamed on militants emulating the Taliban who ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.