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Pakistani jihadi videos thrive on execution scenes

By Staff
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ISLAMABAD, Apr 30 (Reuters) The movie salesman was selling jihad to the converted.

The buyers thronging his stall on the sidelines of a late-night rally in the Pakistani capital belonged to a crowd organised by a sectarian Sunni Muslim group.

''This is the latest video of the beheadings,'' he told his customers, as they pored over titles including ''Slaughter of Americans in Iraq'', ''Slaughter of Traitors in Afghanistan'' and ''Taliban Celebrations''.

In Pakistan, compelled to join a U S-led global war on terrorism after al Qaeda's September 11, 2001 attack on the United States, anger has risen over what many see as an attempt by the West to suppress Muslims around the world.

But that is only part of the story. Pakistan is also locked in a long struggle with its own demons, particularly sectarian violence that has killed thousands.

Three weeks ago, a suicide bomber killed at least 57 people at a prayer meeting in Karachi celebrating the birth of the Prophet Mohammad.

At the other end of the country, in the Waziristan tribal area bordering Afghanistan, the toll from weeks of fighting between security forces and pro-Taliban and al Qaeda tribesmen pushed towards 300.

The video seller didn't have the latest action from the conflict on the Afghan border, but he had something just as gruesome.

''This one is about the activities of mujahideen in Waziristan and Afghanistan,'' the seller said.

Dated in December, and supposedly shot in Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, it had footage of hangings ordered by influential militant clerics.

The bodies of the hanged men, described as criminals and bandits, were then dragged through the streets by pick-up trucks, in a grisly demonstration of rough justice in an area where the civil administration has, according to tribesmen, collapsed.

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