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April 15, 2005

complete ban on women in advertising. 

Pakistan's hard-line Islamist political parties have spent months in protest campaigns against President Pervez Musharraf. But recently they have changed tack, concentrating on women's issues.

Last week the six-party religious alliance that constitutes one-fifth of the country's parliament, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) introduced a bill in parliament seeking a complete ban on women in advertising.

The move follows the MMA's recent successes in stopping women from participating in outdoor sports.

Political observers in Pakistan are intrigued by the sudden shift of emphasis in the MMA's politics.

Islamists in Pakistan are opposed to Gen Musharraf's alliance with the United States and accuse him of subverting the nation's Islamic identity.

But they now seem to be placing a greater emphasis on an agenda of cultural orthodoxy.

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