Swat women still afraid to go out and shop

March 17th, 2009 - 3:06 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban

Mingora (Pakistan), Mar. 17 (ANI): Despite the Pakistan Governments peace-deal with the Taliban in Swat, women are still afraid to go to markets and shop. Even a month after the Sharia related deal, the busiest shopping joint in Mingora city, Cheena Market, still awaits female shoppers. Business has still not returned to normal despite a marked change in the situation. I used to make a good profit when the Taliban had not banned women from going to markets, a shopkeeper, Ikramullah Khan told Daily Times. Earlier, the Swat-based Taliban had banned females from going to markets and schools. However, girls are back in schools after a peace bid, but women are still avoiding going to bazaars. The situation has not changed much as far as threats from the Taliban are concerned. On March 8, a Talib pulled out a dagger in a shop and said, Who wants to be beheaded first? The incident was enough to frighten the women and prevent them from going to the markets. Shopkeepers are fiercely annoyed by Talibans new brand of Islam, which is making their business suffer. If shopping by women was forbidden in Islam, Saudi men would not have allowed their women to go to bazaars. I wonder why these (Taliban) people are offering a new brand of Islam to the people of Swat, said Bakht Rawan, who has spent 15 years in Saudi Arabia as a salesman at a cosmetic shop. In January, Taliban had banned women from markets in Mingora, and ordered the killing of women seen in market areas. Women are not allowed in this market, banners displayed in a citys market, once called Womens Market, had read. (ANI)

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