25 July, 2006

Local Clerics Call for NGO Restrictions in Quake Affected Area of Pakistan

Clerics in Pakistan's conservative North West Frontier Province want local authorities to remove all women working for international relief agencies in earthquake affected areas by the end of this month. The clerics say that the women, including Pakistanis employed by foreign non-government organizations (NGOs), are dressing improperly, mixing with men, and drinking alcohol, which is not allowed in Islamic Pakistan.

"We are not against the NGOs, but we are against them spreading obscenity in society and trying to weaken our faith by corrupting our women," Moazzam Ali Shah, head of Tehreek-e-Islaha Muashra, or Movement to Cleanse Society, told Reuters in Mansehra town. The clerics have not said what action they might take if the women aid workers are not asked to leave.

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