Militants killing laughter and music in Pakistan region

Sun Feb 8, 2009 7:27pm EST
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By Zeeshan Haider

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistani comedian Alamzeb Mujahid had bad news for his fans after being freed by Islamist militants who kidnapped him in Peshawar city last month.

"I'm retiring from showbiz," Mujahid, whose stage name is Janaan, told a news conference without going into details about either the kidnapping or his reasons for quitting the stage.

Friends and colleagues were less circumspect.

They say Mujahid, an ethnic Pashtun, was kidnapped by Islamist vigilantes hell-bent on imposing Taliban-style values in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), a volatile region bordering Afghanistan.

A veteran of hundreds of theater and television plays, the slim, clean shaven 38-year-old actor has begun growing a beard for his life after comedy.

Reluctant to speak about his life-changing experience, Mujahid told Reuters he was joining Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim missionary group, to preach religion.

"God has fed me before and will continue to feed me now," he said solemnly.

Mujahid was lucky.   Continued...

<p>A shopkeeper show Drama CD's and DVD's in his shop in Peshawar, February 6, 2009. REUTERS/Ali Imam</p>