Islamists who head the council running Pakistan's largest city said on Thursday they had banned the unnecessary depiction of women in advertisements, calling the practice "obscene and vulgar"
Naimatullah Khan, mayor of Karachi, told Reuters the council in the metropolis of 14 million passed the law this week and planned to implement it soon.
"Our culture and values are different from the West," he said. "We want to protect women's honour. We don't want to make women toys like they are in the West."
Khan belongs to the hardline Jamaat-e-Islami party, which led a similar campaign in North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan in which youths smashed billboards depicting women.
"It was on my initiative that the law was passed," Khan said. "We plan to implement it soon. We will urge the people, advertisers, not to display obscene and vulgar billboards."
Jamaat-e-Islami is the main component of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, a six-party Islamic alliance that did unexpectedly well in October general elections on the back of opposition to the government's backing for the U.S.-led "war on terror".
Since gaining control of North West Frontier in the polls, the MMA has passed a slew of hardline legislation and announced a return to sharia, or traditional Islamic law, leading critics to charge that it is trying to emulate the notorious Taliban regime overthrown in Afghanistan in 2001.
The decision by the city government is likely to trigger confrontation with the government of Sindh province of which Karachi is the capital.
MSNBC: Islamists who head the council running Pakistan's largest city said on Thursday they had banned the unnecessary depiction of women in advertisements, calling the practice ''obscene and vulgar''
They may have a point about the toys... But the west is an equal opportunity oppressor, even men are seen as toys, objects in adverts.
What's next? Banning photographs of women completely? Music? Dancing? How about women photographers?