PESHAWAR: An organization of local clerics and elders has banned the visit of women to shopping centers and bazaars in Parachinar in Kurram tribal district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) without a male companion.
Kurram is a border district located adjacent to Khost province of Afghanistan and it is one of the ancient trade routes with Afghanistan.
Talking to the media, local residents said that the organization Hussaini Tahereek has shared the decision on its Facebook page as well as on WhatsApp and it was widely copied and shared on all social media platform by its members.
“We are not living under Taliban rule. We are in Pakistan but some people have taken inspiration from the on-going events in Afghanistan where women have been asked to wear a shuttlecock burqa and not go out without a male companion,” they blamed, adding that it had motivated some local clerics in Parachinar too to announce similar conditions for women locally.
Hussain Tahereek is led by a local cleric and former Senator Maulana Abid Hussaini who is considered an influential figure locally. He enjoys the support of other clerics in the area.
It is worth mentioning here that the inhabitants of Kurram are considered the only people in former Fata who rose in arms against Taliban and suffered greatly as a result. The deep schism seldom allows them to follow Taliban or their violent ideology.
“Not only friends but enemies are also impressed with the rapid Taliban gains in Afghanistan. But Kurram is part of Pakistan and the authorities should take action against these self-styled reformists,” said another local, adding that most educated people were against such bans in Kurram district.
“The organization has warned that women visiting the marketplaces alone will be harshly dealt with and no one but their husbands and family members will be responsible for this disrespect,” claimed another local.
When contacted Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kurram Afaq Wazir told The Express Tribune that it was just a joke by some miscreants and Hussaini Tahreek was not even well known to everyone in Parachinar and Kurram district.
“This is an insignificant organization of some 14-15 people not well known. Someone circulated this verdict but on the ground there is no such ban and women are openly visiting marketplaces without interruption. No one will be allowed to take law into his own hands,” he said, adding that neither nor clerics have put any such ban on women in the district and the area was completely peaceful.