The Taliban has reportedly killed a traditional dancing girl in Pakistan, underlining its growing power in the the North-West Frontier Province.
Shabana’s bullet-riden body was found slumped on the ground in the centre of Mingora’s Green Square, strewn with money, CD recordings of her performances and photographs from her albums.
A Taliban leader later appeared on FM radio to admit the killing and warn the militant organisation would not tolerate any ‘un-Islamic vices’.
He said any other girls found performing in the city’s Banr Bazaar would be killed ‘one by one’.
The last of the bazaar’s celebrated dancing girls – once a 1000 strong industry – have reportedly packed up and fled to Karachi and Lahore, where their talents remain in great demand.
A resident of Banr Bazaar, Fayaz, said dance performances had earned participants about 50,000 rupees (£415) a night until the Taliban denounced them as prostitution.
The narrow street where the performers plied their trade until last week now closes at 8pm and only residents can enter, while signs state:’We have stopped dancing, please do not knock on the door.’
Shabana reportedly paid the price for publicly defying the Taliban’s radio mullahs, ignoring personal warnings to stop performing and training young dancers.
‘On the eve of January 2, some men knocked at the door and asked for a dance party,’ Shabana’s father Qamar Gul reportedly said.
‘She instantly agreed and opened the room and asked the men to wait while she prepared herself.
‘When she returned the four men said: “Let us start.” They seized her at gunpoint and told her they were going to slit her throat’
The dancer reportedly cried for help and begged for her life, but she was dragged out of her house to Green Square and shot.
The Taliban and the Pakistan Army have been fighting for control of the Swat Valley, where the millitant organisation recently ordered girls’ schools and music shops to close and forced barbers to stop shaving beards.
But with the woman’s death and the dancers’ banishment the Islamic extremist group has once again tightened its hold.
also here http://www.freemuse.org/sw33489.asp