Peshawar, Dec 5 : A campaign by sleeping cells of al Qaeda-linked militants here has resulted in the shutting down of shops dealing with old and new English, Indian, Pakistani movies.
Two men were seen busy putting up a white-coloured banner with announcements in blue, green and red to mark an end to the "business of movies" on Tuesday and the start of "Islamic" business in Fawad Plaza on main University Road.
"New businesses, God willing, will soon be inaugurated," the banner read at a former digital versatile disc (DVD) shop that had closed a few months ago, due to threat from militants and is taking heavy psychological toll on local residents.
The owner of one shop confirmed the shutting down of his business. "I do not want the neighbouring shopkeepers to get hurt because of my business," he said.
He was the second businessman to have decided to close the business in the same market.
V-den, another decades-old shop with a huge collection of movies, was the first to pull down the curtains on the CD business. There have been several bomb attacks on CD shops across the NWFP, and the main market of CD business in Nishtar Abad in Peshawar, recently experienced the explosion that killed one person.
V-den was launched some 22 years ago when movie-lovers were less in number. V-den changed local residents' preferences by attracting them to classical movies.
"We have shut down the business after threats," Rafique Khattak of V-den said. The collection of movies is all set to vanish that took more than two decades to make, he added.
Along with the V-den, the owner has also closed A-den, the audio shop, and C-den, the CD shop, and both entrepreneurs are pondering a business of either garments or medicines.
The shopkeepers did not give up continuing their business until the local police expressed "helplessness" to protect them against any possible attack from militants.
"We went to the local police and they disappointed us by saying that we better close down our business if there was a direct threat," the Daily Times quoted a DVD shop owner, as saying.
"Everyone is seeking protection, but we do not have the required number of policemen to provide it," Nisar Khan, Station House Officer at the University Town Police Station, said.
A senior government official said sleeping cells of militants had set June 2008 as the timeframe to tighten the noose around Peshawar, which is likely to come under attack from the south and north. (ANI)
© 2007 ANI