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 Wednesday, 1 January, 2003, 14:24 GMT
Pakistan police burn 'obscene' material
Peshawar policeman burning the material
Police burnt thousands of items in the city's main park

Police in Pakistan's North-west Frontier Province have burnt thousands of items considered to be pornographic as part of a drive against obscenity.

A public bonfire was organised in Peshawar's Jinnah Park to destroy the material which included Indian and English films, posters, "sex tonics", or aphrodisiacs and medicines.

Police officials said cassettes and other material were voluntarily handed over to them by video sellers.

The provincial police chief, Saeed Ahmed Khan, said the video sellers have been given a 15 January deadline to hand in all such material.

Those failing to meet the deadline have been warned of strict action.

Ban

Peshawar police had made special arrangements on New Year's eve not to allow revellers on the streets.

No arrests were made as most of the people spent the night indoors.

No music shows or parties were allowed.

MMA leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed
Islamists want to enforce a stricter code
The province saw a dramatic takeover in October elections by the far-right Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), an alliance of Islamic parties.

Its members include supporters of Afghanistan's ousted Taleban regime.

The MMA campaigned on promises to enforce Islamic Sharia law and efforts for the withdrawal of US forces in Pakistan in the campaign against international terrorism.

Since coming to power, the province's Chief Minister, Akram Khan Durrani, has launched a drive against obscenity.

The crackdown includes a campaign against gambling, pornographic and unlicensed cinemas, and reinforcement of an existing ban on alcohol.

Musharraf's Pakistan

Democracy challenge

Militant threat

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See also:

18 Dec 02 | South Asia
24 Dec 02 | South Asia
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