Taking law into their own hands once again, a group of local tribal clerics has banned music in weddings along with dancing of the transgender persons in Khyber tribal district of KhyberPakhtunkhwa (K-P). A group of 26 clerics gathered on Friday and unanimously announced the decision, adding that local clerics would not perform the nikah in those weddings where music and dancing will be performed. “If any one refuses to obey this order or go against it, then the last rites of the entire family will not be performed by clerics,” says a written letter signed by at least 26 clerics.
Furthermore, the notification says that local residents would also be asked to boycott such families and clerics will not attend their marriages too. The group also announced banning celebratory aerial firing in weddings. Talking to The Express Tribune a local resident said that the announcement was made by the clerics but the Jirga called for the purpose was attended by the local political figures as well as tribal elders. This is not the first time that local hardline clerics have banned music and dances by transgender persons in tribal districts.
In September 2017, a group of local clerics torched television sets and musical instruments in Landi Kotal area of the then Khyber Agency. These instruments had been collected during ‘raids’ by clerics on music parties and homes. In July 2021, an organization of local clerics and elders banned the visit of women to shopping centers and bazaars in Parachinar in Kurram tribal district of K-P without a male companion. Local residents said that the organization Hussaini Tahereek 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. 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. Similarly, in July 2022, a Jirga of local elders of ultra-conservative Salarzai, Bajaur tribal district, banned the entry of women or couples in the picnic spots, terming it against the local traditions. The Jirga was held under the supervision of Jamiat Ulema-eIslam Fazl (JUI-F) and was addressed by JUI-F district amir for Bajaur Maulana Abdur Rashid. Maulana Rashid announced the decision agreed upon including ban on the entry of women in the hill stations calling it vulgar. “Taking women to picnic spots could not be allowed under the cover of tourism,” he added, saying that if government failed to take any action in this regard then the Jirga would ban it. The Jirga also demanded that local residents should be recruited in the various departments in the district and non-locals will not be accepted.
In February 2021, local elders of Tehsil Mamond in Bajaur banned the visit of womenfolk to the Citizen Facilitation Center (CFC) as well as their phone calls to local FM Radio stations. It was announced that violators would be punished with Rs10,000 fine.