KABUL: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan faced growing criticism in Afghanistan on Sunday after making controversial and insulting remarks about Afghanistan and its people.
His comments drew condemnation from Afghan politicians, journalists and people. The controversial statements were made on Sunday Islamabad at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Council of Foreign Ministers summit on Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis.
Khan was of the view that every country has its own culture and Afghanistan has also a different culture. “We do not count the general social attitudes in Afghanistan,” he said.
“Every society’s idea of human rights and women’s rights are different. When we are talking about human and women rights, we have to be sensitive of cultures. The Taliban are predominantly Pashtun movement and that people in Pakistan’s Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan, have a similar culture with the Taliban,” the prime minister said in a condescending attempt to inflame tension. “Kabul or Peshawar cultures are completely different from real rural culture.”
The remarks reverberated widely across Afghanistan and drew massive condemnation from all spectrums of Afghanistan society.
Pakistani prime minister said that chaos in Afghanistan could cause the rise in terrorism. He reiterated that Pakistan is the most affected country due to the war in Afghanistan. He added that instability in Afghanistan will affect Pakistan.
Former president Hamid Karzai slammed Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks as an attempt to divide Afghans and an insult to the Afghan people.
Karzai condemned Khan’s allegations that ISIS operates from Afghanistan and poses a threat to Pakistan. “This is a clear propaganda against Afghanistan; and in fact, the issue is quite the opposite; the threat of Daesh comes from Pakistan to Afghanistan,” he said.
He urged ‘Pakistani government to strictly refrain from preaching against Afghanistan and interfering in our internal affairs, not to speak on behalf of Afghanistan in international forums.’
“Not letting girls education is part of Afghan culture is the most ridiculously ignorant statement. Weeks ago he called Haqqani network a Pashtoon tribe. Can someone please educate him a bit,” tweeted Ismail Miakhail, former Director General of Radio Television Afghanistan.
Shukria Barakzai, former ambassador to Norway and an ex-MP, said Imran Khan’s comments at OIC that prohibiting girls from education is a part of Afghan culture is the utmost disrespect to the people of Afghanistan. “It also shows lack of his knowledge about the history and culture of Afghanistan.”
Ziauddin Yousafzai, a Pakistani women’s rights activist, tweeted: “extremely disappointing telling OIC that basic human rights can be compromised for cultural sensitivities. Normalising Taliban’s misogyny and bigotry in the name of culture is shocking.”
Afrasiab Khattak, former Pakistani Senator, said the “Taliban shouldn’t be allowed to use hapless Afghan masses as hostages for getting recognition for their illegitimate brutal rule. Humanitarian assistance should go through community network under UN oversight. Pressure should continue on Taliban for respecting the people’s will.”
Hameed Shuja, editor at BBC Pashto Digital, said in a tweet, “Imran Khan meant stopping women from working and girls from learning is an accepted culture”.
This is as some residents of Kabul are skeptic of similar meetings which have failed to change the status quo in Afghanistan.