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Pak militants force ban on songs, videos on cellphones

March 04, 2013 18:39 IST

Traders in the restive Peshawar city of northwest Pakistan have stopped selling mobile memory cards loaded with music videos and songs after receiving threats from militants, who have described such forms of entertainment as "un-Islamic".

The management of two markets have closed shops frequented by people wanting to load songs and music and dance videos on the memory cards used in mobile phones.

The shopkeepers were "directed to pack up or change their business," according to a report in The News daily.

The militants issued a threat to shops dealing in memory cards, said a shopkeeper at Muslim Market in Peshawar Cantonment who did not want to be named.

"They were mostly dealing in transferring ringtones, songs and various kinds of videos," he said.

The shopkeeper said the owners of these shops were told by traders dealing in mobile phones to wind up their business since they were posing a threat to other shops.

The shopkeeper claimed these shops were involved in "spreading pornographic videos".

Police have stepped up patrolling in the area while the management of business plazas have made arrangements to avert any untoward incident after the threats from the militants.

Banners placed outside the main cellular phone markets in Peshawar asked customers to approach shops to purchase only cellular phones and accessories and not memory cards.

"These shops aren't selling memory cards and USBs," read a banner outside mobile phone shops on Saddar Road.

Militants had warned mobile phone shops in Saddar, Karkhano Market, Hayatabad and in the inner part of Peshawar that they would be bombed if they did not stop selling music videos, ringtones and pornographic films loaded on memory cards.

The daily quoted a source as saying that the militants sent threatening letters and emails to dozens of shopkeepers dealing in mobile phones, ringtones, memory cards and USBs to wind up their business.

On February 21, one person was killed and several were injured when a bomb went off at a market for mobile phones at Hashtnagri in Peshawar.

Earlier, the Taliban had directed tribesmen in Waziristan to stop using cellular phones and computers, claiming they were being used to "spread vulgarity".

Hundreds of cellular phones, computers and CDs were burnt by militants in Waziristan last year.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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