In a move to diversify their enterprise amid a countrywide crackdown on militancy, Pakistani Taliban are set to open a new chain of stores selling designer Kurtas.

Kurtas are loose ethnic tunics popular in the subcontinent. Urban Pakistanis wear designer Kurtas on occasions of special cultural significance, such as Fridays, the Muslim festival of Eid, at weddings, and to hide a suicide vest when carrying out terrorist attacks.

“A meeting of our elders has decided that a women’s clothing line will follow soon,” a Taliban spokesman told reporters and fashion enthusiasts from an undisclosed location in Pakistan’s lawless region of Karachi during a fashion week earlier this month.

“After making bombs and orchestrating terrorist attacks for more than a decade, they have decided to expand their project to find other ways of agonizing the people of Pakistan,” says an expert who closely follows Kurta designs in the troubled country. “If you look at the colors and designs of the designer Kurtas available in the market, you will realize that the Taliban are ready to go to any length to spread chaos and disorder in our society.”

Not all analysts agree.

“Look how complicated it has become for honest, God fearing men to generate money for Jihad,” a defense analyst lamented. “With their funding drying up because of stern new policies, what do you expect them to do? Is there a faster way of making money in this country?”

“It is good that the Taliban are coming into mainstream business,” a representative of shopkeepers and traders said while reacting to the development. “We sincerely hope that they will now they will run their own shops, they will find out what it feels like when someone shows up at your shop with overblown estimates of how much money you make, threatens to blow it up, and demands a ridiculously high ransom.”

This scribe spoke to fashion lovers all over the city, especially those who love traditional wear, and asked them how they felt about buying Kurtas designed by the Taliban. The reactions were mixed.

“Wait, so this bearded guy whose Kurtas I have been buying isn’t Taliban?” exclaimed a student and a political activist.

One housewife said it was good for Pakistan’s expanding textile and apparel industry as well as for the consumers. “I am sick of shopping at the same stores every time. We need some variety.”

A madrassa student said a lot would depend on the cuts and designs. “It is my belief that the true purpose of traditional clothing is fulfilled only when it is so loose that we cannot see what is underneath,” he said. “What is the point of wearing a Kurta so tight that you can see one’s body, and all the explosives tied to it.”

A college student was worried the project is not sustainable. “Cotton Kurtas are too thin,”

she said. “They will get ripped by all the flogging that they plan to do.”

A religious activist welcomed the move. “Once I was trying to burn an American flag and my shirt accidentally caught fire,” he said. “Now I have a place to go when such a thing happens. You never know, sometimes your shirt gets torn in a showdown with the police too.”

But police in Karachi seem to have more important things to worry about. “We are getting reports from all over the city that people have received threatening letters warning them of dire consequences if they don’t make all the boys dress in the exact same Kurtas on their weddings,” a source said.

An interior ministry official said the government was vigilant and would soon put new laws in place to prevent the Taliban from expanding their business. “According to the proposed new regulations, you will have to register all your Kurtas to your computerized national identity cards, with biometric verification,” he revealed. “It will be illegal to wear someone else’s Kurta that is not registered in your own name.” He said the government was also considering limiting the maximum number of Kurtas a person could buy to five.

“The western world cannot even begin to count the sacrifices we are making in the war on terror,” press statement by the ministry said. “Tens of thousands of our civilians have become victim to these ludicrous tunics, which make our boys look like scarecrows from a Tim Burton movie.”