Islamic clerics in Pakistan have acted to ban women from shopping alone, because the practice spreads "vulgarity".

Local television channels reported that a committee of clerics in Karak district had voted to introduce restrictions during a meeting at Tehsil mosque.

The meeting, led by former Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Hafiz Abne Amin, concluded that lone women walking through markets spread "vulgarity" in society, and need to be stopped.

"Most unaccompanied women are becoming a source of spreading vulgarity, especially in the holy month of Ramzan. They are often seen to be involved in thefts and robberies. Hence, we have decided not to allow such women in Karak markets," Mir Zaqeem, head of the Khattak Ittehad, told local media according to an NDTV report.

The clerics asked shopkeepers in Karak, in Pakistan's restive northwest, to refuse to serve women shopping alone. They said that a woman shopping alone should not even be allowed on market premises.

They also ordered local residents not to send female members of their families shopping alone.

"We have already issued a directive asking shop-owners not to sell anything to women shopping alone in markets," Zaqeem added.

Zaqeem further said that when a woman shops alone, she is not only breaching religious norms, but also flouting accepted behaviour in Pashtun culture.

The clerics went to the extent of meeting Deputy Commissioner of Karak, Aqal Bad Shah to suggest a ban on women shopping alone.

Officially, the request was denied, although the clerics have been assured by the district administration that the ban would be unofficially imposed.