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Reappearance of billboards featuring women in Peshawar

PESHAWAR: Multinational companies in the NWFP have started replacing men’s photos with women’s on billboards after the defeat of extremist forces in the general elections.

The images of female models on billboards have reappeared in the provincial capital after secular political parties defeated the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), ending its five year hold on the province. The Taliban and MMA activists, whose influence is still growing in the province, considered the depiction of unveiled women to be ‘un-Islamic’, and had been issuing threats that those who failed to stop this practice would face bombing.

Multinational national companies have now installed now billboards carrying photos of female models on University Road, Grand Trunk Road, Saddar Bazaar, and Surai Pul near the NWFP Assembly building.

Cinemas have also started displaying billboards and posters carrying photos of actresses around the city. They had been barred from displaying movie posters by the former MMA government.

Expressing confidence in secular parties, including the Awami National Party (ANP) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Mohammad Faraq, a Peshawar resident, said it would take time to improve the image of Peshawar.

He said the MMA had caused an irreparable loss to the Pashtun culture, adding that it had closed the doors of a state-run theatre for singers, dancers, and musicians during its five year term.

The city’s only state-run theatre closed its doors long ago to singers, dancers, and musicians, who were also barred from holding public concerts because the former ruling religious alliance in the NWFP considered this to be ‘un-Islamic’.

Undeterred by allegations that it was treading in the footsteps of the ousted Taliban government of Afghanistan, the MMA tried to introduce a strict code of Islamic law by tabling the Shariah Bill and the Hasba Bill in the provincial assembly.

The Shabab-e-Mili, a Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) affiliated group, headed by Sabir Hussain Awan, a former member of the National Assembly, destroyed billboards, causing millions of rupees of loss to multinational companies. The JI is a component of the MMA. MMA activists had accused multinational companies of promoting ‘obscenity, lewdness and vulgarity’ in society.
Source: Daily Times

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