A senior administration officer in the city of Dalbandin in Balochistan’s Chagai district had barred barbershops in the region from styling customers’ beards “in designs” but later on the same day as the notice was issued withdrew the decree. Signed by Assistant Commissioner Dalbandin, Habibullah Mandokhel, the original decree was titled “Immediate ban on designed beards”, and stated that “in accordance with Sunnah lifestyle of the Holy Prophet, (PBUH) the barbershop owners are being strictly instructed against styling their customers’ beards with designs.”
“There is a complete ban on this act (designed beards) and whosoever is found in violation will have to face strict legal action,” the first notification, drafted on January 29, had warned. Copies of the notification were dispatched to police, Levies and other district administration officials for implementation. Later in the day, the assistant commissioner issued a second notification, which retracted the original notification banning the styling and designing of beards.
Mandokhel, while talking to media, said he retracted the notification because the issuance of such decrees is not within his jurisdiction. The controversial ban, which now stands nullified, had triggered debates on social media where some had raised questions if a Taliban-style Sharia was being imposed in parts of Pakistan.
Forcing clean-shaven men to grow beards but banning “un-Islamic” styling was a hallmark of the Taliban rule. In 2008, the then Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Maulvi Umar had threatened people in Bajaur tribal region to grow beards within two months or face consequences.