There are no more attacks by Muslim mobs on foreign charities that promote women's rights. There are no more anti-American harangues pouring from mosque loudspeakers, no more sermons against Western pornography, no more effigies of President Bush being burned in the streets.

Now that the mullahs of Pakistan's radical religious right have taken over North-West Frontier Province, they've got more important things to do.

It's been five months since elections restored a measure of democracy to Pakistan after three years of military rule -- and gave religious parties an unprecedented share of political power. In the national parliament, a coalition of six Islamic parties captured the third largest number of seats and now leads the official opposition. Here in North-West Frontier Province, the Islamic coalition won 69 of 124 seats in the provincial assembly, a stunning upset that brought religious groups to power for the first time anywhere in Pakistan.

Their campaign was largely fueled by popular anti-American sentiment, with a strong dose of Islamic morality thrown in. But now that they find themselves in public office, the fire-and-brimstone clerics have a parcel of nuts-and-bolts problems to address: rampant disease and poor health care; child labor and lack of education for girls; bureaucratic corruption; street crime; honor killings; garbage collection, and budget deficits.

These days, religious party leaders in this provincial capital are speaking the language of pragmatism, not polemics. They talk of creating a welfare state, consulting with interest groups and working within the constitution. They still dream of building an Islamic paradise, but their voters have more immediate, earthly worries.

"We are still Islamists, but we are also democrats. We can't impose anything on the people, and we can't move faster than they are willing to go," said Seraj ul-Haq, a senior minister in the provincial cabinet and a longtime activist with Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan's largest religious party. "In our campaign, we promised to bring sharia [Islamic law] to the people, but that means building a welfare state, not chopping off hands."

A recent sampling of voters in the tea shops and bazaars of Peshawar echoed this view. Many said they had supported the religious parties in hopes they would clean up corruption, curb crime and bring social justice to the common man{ndash}and because people have become disillusioned with the elitism of the secular and nationalist parties that long dominated the impoverished rural region.

Residents also spoke of the need to control vulgarity in public life, and some praised the religious government for launching a symbolic crackdown on modern or lewd entertainment. In recent months, garish movie posters have been torn down or painted over, piles of video cassettes burned and nightlife spots that featured adolescent or transvestite dancers shut down.

"It's good that the vulgar signs are gone and some bad habits are being discouraged, but what we really need is relief for the poor," said Bahadur Khan, 38, an importer of car parts who was lunching on Afghan rice and beef with some friends in a tea shop. "We are all Muslims, and no one needs to tell us to grow beards. We are waiting for these parties to provide jobs and economic justice."

Mushtaq Hussain, 42, has been making classical wooden instruments in Peshawar's music bazaar for two decades. He said that he was glad the government had driven out the dancers and prostitutes but that it needs to do more to bring law and order.

"It makes no difference who is ruling us, religious or not, as long as they bring security so we can live and work in peace," Hussain said. "The political parties were corrupt, but if the mullahs can't deliver, they are of no use either."

Some devout Muslims said they were disappointed the parties have not done more to enforce Islamic values. One religious students' group in Peshawar recently held a rally to protest the "helplessness" of the Islamic coalition, complaining it had failed to follow through on a vow to ban popular music being played on public buses.

On the other hand, nonprofit community activists said they were pleasantly surprised to see the region's religious parties tone down the radical Islamic agenda that was trumpeted by some of their local and national leaders during the campaign last fall.

Jamiat-e-Ulema-i-Islami, the second-largest Islamic party in the coalition, launched a crusade last year against foreign nonprofits that promoted the right of Muslim women to secure an education and jobs, warning that this would endanger family life and lead to prostitution. Incited by campaign rhetoric, mobs attacked and vandalized several nonprofit centers for women in rural areas of the province.

But after the election, the harassment stopped. Now, provincial officials from Jamiat-e-Ulema -- including the elected chief minister -- are promoting education for girls and skills for women as enshrined in Islamic principle and beneficial for social progress.

"We expected things to be a lot worse," said Bushra Gohar, the director of a nonprofit agency in Peshawar that operates schools for working children and training centers for women. "When the parties were out of government, they said a lot about how NGOs [non-governmental organizations] were bad. But now they are quiet. I don't think they have changed their views, but they are busy trying to keep their coalition together, and they don't want to create an uproar."

A surprising source of support for women's rights has been the Shariat Law Council, a panel of 21 religious and political leaders that was formed by the new government. Its mandate is to propose legislation that would strengthen and enforce Islamic values and practices.

But instead of pursuing a Taliban-style agenda that would require men to grow beards and women to wear veils, as some observers had predicted, the council has adopted a list of progressive proposals that include requiring primary education for all girls and banning widespread tribal customs in which unmarried women are sold as barter to settle disputes or compensate for crimes.

"Islam gives mandatory equal rights to both men and women, and we want to do away with anything that clashes with the teachings of Islam," said Mufti Ghulam ur Rahman, 50, a Muslim cleric who heads the council and runs a free religious academy for about 350 boys and girls in Peshawar. "We need women to be educated and skilled, and we need to end tribal traditions that are cruel to women. Some consider these to be Islamic, but they are not."

The moderate rhetoric of the new provincial leadership is as much a sign of political realism as religious enlightenment. The region's appointed military governor wields enormous power, and to some extent the newly elected officials must answer to Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who is determined to reform the country's image as a hotbed of religious radicalism.

The perquisites of power may also prove an effective brake on any radical Islamic agenda. Some officials from religious parties, like ul-Haq, have maintained an austere lifestyle and seek to set a moral example. But others find themselves in heady new circumstances, hobnobbing and vote-trading in the capital, and they may not relish the prospect of returning to shabby rural mosques.

Pakistan's religious coalition is new and fragile. It was swept into power partly on the strength of emotional issues, such as anger against the West, but it could easily lose power if it fails to deliver on practical issues, such as jobs and poverty. If the new leaders in Peshawar create enemies or splinter over religious differences, analysts said, their electoral windfall could easily vanish.

"The [coalition] is not the Taliban. They learned a lot of lessons from the Taliban experience, and they know they cannot make a revolution in the name of Islam," said Farooq Khan, a psychiatrist and longtime member of Jamaat-e-Islami who writes about religious issues. "This was a vote against America, but it was also a vote for change and good governance. In the end, that's what they have to deliver."

A worker tears down cinema posters from an overpass in Peshawar, where the government banned garish movie posters but not the showing of films.