January 25, 2009. Daily Times. “An increasing number of restaurants in Quetta have stopped serving women apparently after being pressured by religious elements, and the practice is being seen as a spill-over of the Swat problem to the rest of Pakistan. Certain popular restaurants have now begun to display boards saying, ‘For gentlemen only. Women not allowed.’ Located on the city’s most crowded Jinnah Road, Baig Snack Bar has been one of the most popular eating places in Quetta.Read the full post here. Also see this op-ed in Washington Post: A war on Pakistan's schoolgirls. And for an illustration of their mindset, here is a bit from a NYT article about Swat this past Sunday:
January 23, 2009. The News. “Militants gunned down Amjad Islam, teacher of a private school who himself waged a Jihad against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan, for not hiking up his shalwar (trouser) above his ankles. However, the issue did not end here but the militants went to the slain teacher’s house and gunned down his father, Ghani Akbar, a lawyer by profession. The militants later hung Amjad’s body from a pole in the Matta College Square.”
January 22, 2009. The News. “Continuing their attacks on schools, the militants destroyed two more schools in Khwazakhela and Matta areas. A government boys school was blown up in Sherpalam area of Matta, while a primary school was torched in Mangaltan village of Khwazakhela. Some unknown assailants attacked a police armoured personnel carrier (APC) in Saidu Sharif, the capital city of Swat district. The attack caused injuries to an official, Chinar Gul.”
Pakistan is indeed at war - and this is what it is facing. Read this NYT article here.
Few officials would dispute that one of the Pakistani military’s biggest mistakes in Swat was its failure to protect Pir Samiullah, a local leader whose 500 followers fought the Taliban in the village of Mandal Dag. After the Taliban killed him in a firefight last month, the militants demanded that his followers reveal his gravesite — and then started beheading people until they got the information, one Mandal Dag villager said.“They dug him up and hung his body in the square,” the villager said, and then they took the body to a secret location. The desecration was intended to show what would happen to anyone who defied the Taliban’s rule, but it also made painfully clear to Swat residents that the Pakistani government could not be trusted to defend those who rose up against the militants.
Gruesome displays like the defilement of Pir Samiullah’s remains are an effective tactic for the Taliban, who have shown cruel efficiency in following through on their threats.
Recently, Shah Doran broadcast word that the Taliban intended to kill a police officer who he said had killed three people.
“We have sent people, and tomorrow you will have good news,” he said on his nightly broadcast, according to a resident of Matta, a Taliban stronghold. The next day the decapitated body of the policeman was found in a nearby village.
Even in Mingora, a town grown hardened to violence, residents were shocked early this month to find the bullet-ridden body of one of the city’s most famous dancing girls splayed on the main square.Known as Shabana, the woman was visited at night by a group of men who claimed to want to hire her for a party. They shot her to death and dragged her body more than a quarter-mile to the central square, leaving it as a warning for anyone who would flout Taliban decrees.