PESHAWAR: In a bizarre move, the district administration of Buner district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa briefly arrested 14 shopkeepers for selling women’s undergarments out in the open in the vicinity of the Pir Baba mausoleum.
The Buner Additional Assistant Commissioner Usman Kakakhel confirmed the arrests to The Express Tribune on Wednesday, stating that the men were later released.
“We received complaints from locals about he open showcasing of women’s undergarments,” Kakakhel said.
“Such practices are against cultural norms and values of the region,” he explained.
Kakakhel added that the shopkeepers were also involved in hooting – calling out to people visiting the areas in order to sell their products. The official further claimed that he had personally seen shopkeepers call out to women passing by, urging them to buy their wares.
The additional assistant commissioner said that the display of women’s undergarments openly may also disturb the region’s peace because ‘miscreants’ can use it as a pretext to create a law and order situation. He further added that it is awkward for families visiting the mausoleum to pass through an area where shops openly displayed undergarments.
When questioned under which law the shopkeepers were held, the additional assistant commissioner said he had the authority to arrest anyone under Section 64 of Code of Criminal Procedure, which gives power to a magistrate to arrest anyone involved in unlawful practices such as spreading ‘obscenity’. “We have arrested the shopkeepers in good faith because the open sale of such stuff is against the local customs and values, and people did not like it,” he said.
He added that the arrested shopkeepers were freed only after they pledged, in the presence of local elders, that they would not be involved in the practice anymore.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2017.
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