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Elders ban women from shopping alone in northwest Pakistan

Those who will visit markets without male relatives will be handed over to police

  • AFP
  • Published: 16:56 July 20, 2013
  • Gulf News

Peshawar, Pakistan/Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa: Tribal elders and Islamic clerics in northwest Pakistan have barred women from shopping in bazaars without a male relative, elders and an official said Saturday.

The decision was taken on Friday in the Karak district of conservative Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders the restive tribal areas along the Afghan border.

“We have decided that women will not visit bazaars without a male relative,” Maulana Mirzaqeem, a cleric and tribal elder, said.

“Those who will visit markets without male relatives will be handed over to police,” he said.

“They spread vulgarity and spoil men’s fasting in Ramadan,” Mirzaqeem said, adding that the ban would be publicised using local mosques loudspeakers.

The decision had been taken due to the sanctity of the holy month, the cleric said - it is not clear whether it will be lifted after Ramadan.

A senior government official in Karak confirmed the move.

Taliban threats and social taboos have deprived millions of women of their rights in Pakistan.

In most parts of the northwestern tribal areas women are confined to their homes and do not go shopping or work outside.

Pakistani women in most parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cover their heads and bodies, either with salwar kameez and scarves, or head-to-toe burqas.

Comments (45)

  1. Added 17:38 July 21, 2013

    As usual the comments asking men not to harass women. All those who read this, agree on that. But what to do - the perverts don't read your comments. So the solution is we protect our most beloved wives, sisters, mothers much more than we protect our material possessions like car, house etc. which we don't leave unlocked and then post comments saying that - nobody has the right to steal my car or stuff from my house.

    Arif, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 17:22 July 21, 2013

    This rule should come in India and America. So the rape rate will decrease....

    Mohammad Rizwan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 14:34 July 21, 2013

    I thing the safety in that area is very poor and could not be controlled by police and all, so the clrerics do not want women to go shopping without male companion. In addition to that since they are covered fully. How men are tempted by them.

    hameed, Dubai, India

  4. Added 14:09 July 21, 2013

    Very simple solution: Women, having a family, refuse to go out. send your male family members for shopping and doing the needful things for the family. It will last a few days and they will be fed up and see what you all do to run a family (business). I dont like the decision but unfortunately the ladies are not independant and educated enough to fight back.

    Claudia, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 13:55 July 21, 2013

    Why not ban man on leaving houses? Then finally women could go out freely and nobody would rape them or harrass them. I'm sure it would help others to understand their ignorance.

    anonym, Paris, France

  6. Added 13:53 July 21, 2013

    Please read the full story, its just a suggestion from the elders of that area and not an enforcement. also this international media is always looking for a point to blackmail Islam and muslims specially pakistani and pushtoons. so i request you kindly do not propagate this news.

    Majid Khan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 13:48 July 21, 2013

    Allah answered every question in QURAN why dont they follow it.

    Mohammed, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 13:40 July 21, 2013

    its amazing that some of AGREE respondents live in Dubai..more worrying is that they are literate and know how to post comments, I would have still not been so shocked if there were uneducated .

    Vincent, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 13:40 July 21, 2013

    its necessary in areas like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh. These things are nothing to do with religion. People have torn the image of Islam.

    Saj, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 13:25 July 21, 2013

    What I did realize reading all comments, people are nothing but victim of media propaganda. Almost every one has commented with a mind set as westerners would have love them to do so. Have you forgot your religion guys? Islam says a Mehram (Guardian) has to be there with a female when she goes out for long. Now here is the point, its to protect her from evil outside and for her safety. How many of you will stare at a girl walking with her guardian and one walking without?? If liberal and moderate mindset is best option, Why America and India has biggest rate of rape?

    Muhammad, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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