Pakistan: Gunmen ban music in new push for jihad

Islamic gunmen are confiscating music cassettes from public buses and ordering shops to only sell CDs promoting jihad in the latest push to Talibanize a lawless Pakistani frontier region, residents said Tuesday. The campaign was launched on Sunday in North Waziristan, a tribal region where the government reached a peace deal with pro-Taliban armed groups last fall, an intelligence official confirmed. Bands of gunmen have visited shops selling music cassettes and CDs in the main town of Miran Shah, warning owners to only sell "jihadi" cassettes - featuring sermons by clerics or songs without musical accompaniment that praise holy war and those who fight it. "They came to us and said, 'Do not sell music and song cassettes and CDs,'" shop owner Omar Jan said. "They warned us to close our shops or they would punish us."