Jan 13, 2009

World - The horrors of living under Taliban "dos and don'ts" in Pak's Swat Valley

Peshawar, Jan 12 (ANI): People in Pakistan's restive Swat Valley are leaving the area, because surviving in duress is becoming difficult for them, as they have been subjected to many "dos and don'ts" in recent months by the Taliban militants.

Over the past two weeks, many families left the valley fearing a bleak future for their children. Apart from the education sector, which has suffered constantly in the settled and Tribal Areas, the people of Swat have been subjected to many 'dos and don'ts' in recent months.

"We are living under duress these days," the Daily Times quoted a Swat-based educationist, as saying.

He said this while condemning the recent threats from Taliban for closure of girls' schools in Swat.

However, after repeated talks, the Taliban have agreed to allow girls' education at government and private institutions until class IV, he said.

Hairdressers have been forced to stop shaving beards. "We are not shaving beards and don't visit us to get your beards shaved" announced handwritten notices displayed at every barbershop in Mingora, headquarters of the restive Swat district.

"Women are not allowed in this market," reads a banner installed in front of a three-storey market, which was once called Women's Market.

"We were dealing in women's garments and cosmetics and were doing a reasonable business. However, we cannot even earn enough money to pay the rent and electricity charges of the shop since the ban has been imposed on women's entry in the market," said a shop owner.

Another shop owner said he had not seen a woman in the whole Mingora Bazaar in the past month.

"They (Taliban) have ordered the killing of women seen in market areas," he said.

The market of dancing girls, also known as the Bundh Bazaar, has also been closed following the recent killing of a female dancer. (ANI)

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