Two developments that took place after the much-hyped OIC meet on Afghanistan in Islamabad, Pakistan, deserve attention. Because the country in question is having its own problems with the Islamic world. The present-day Islamic world is undergoing massive transformation, mostly positive, and it cannot sit in the same dark corner where the Taliban-ruled state has discovered comfort zone for itself.
Against the backdrop of what Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said about the Pashtun culture and justified the denial of school education to the girls and rights to women, as part of the tribal culture, which ran against the hope of the world that Taliban would be advised, and expected to uphold the human rights of women, has distanced the Islamic world from Kabul. The establishment of the fund for Afghanistan should not be seen in response to Pakistani Prime Minister's description of Afghanistan’s rulers. Urging the world not to condition its aid to the Taliban ruled Afghanistan to the respect for human rights, especially that of the women and the young girls who should be in schools, was inhuman. It was a sin, and worse still the justification of this sin. How this justification is linked to evoking sensitivity toward the tribal culture? This was atrocious.
Imran Khan's justification for violation of the human rights of women in Afghanistan , under the Taliban rule, made the Islamic world to wonder where Taliban is taking Afghanistan to, and how it is being helped by Pakistan to shift to the dark ages. This is particularly pernicious at a time when the Islamic world, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE in lead, is opening up to the reforms. There are string calls to fight and neutralize extremism.
The extremism, the most dreadful phenomenon in today’s world, stems from the ideology of prosecuting those, within and outside of the areas of patrons of fanaticism, seeking to walk the path of education and enlightenment. The education, in particular, that of women poses danger to such gun holding obscurantists.
The new generation Islamic world could not reconcile to the idea of walking the dark path of obscurantism with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Women are getting more rights, which, of course, they deserved for long, in Saudi Arabia, and other Islamic nations. Therefore what Khan said, was: ( a ) wrong message to the world, negation of the reforms and upholding of the human rights ( b) it was an unqualified encouragement to extremism and violence against women to assume more dangerous proportions. It also exposed Imran Khan’s fight against extremism as phoney. There has to be condemnation of extremism, wherever it is voiced and justified by the calls to eliminate those who disagree with the cheer leaders of bigotry, no matter how they do it.
Second, the Taliban soldiers prevented Pakistan army from erecting fence along the border. It raised a question, when Pakistan is having its own border problems with Afghanistan even when it is now being ruled by its favourites, the Taliban, to whom it helped come to power, how can it assure the world that Taliban would not allow export of terrorism from its soil.
Questions are being asked from within Pakistan about the whole thing, former senate chairman Raza Rabbani has asked “The Afghan Taliban is not ready to recognize the border, so why are we moving forward?’ This is a pertinent question.
Pakistan has no answers. Alongside, a related question assumes more criticality; why TTP – Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, a terror group, with which Imran Khan government negotiated a ceasefire, walked out of the agreement. The crucial part is that the ceasefire agreement between TTP and Pakistan government was facilitated by Afghan Taliban. These developments have not been lost on the world.
The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, which Pakistan had been spotlighting and urging the world to offer assistance, despite the aid pledged by the OIC and other countries, is bound to worsen. Taliban has its own army to feed, its natural hunger, and ego and to keep it kicking. Taliban’s strength lies in its soldiers, not the people, otherwise before taking over the reins of Afghanistan, it would have worked arrangements with the international community how to feed the people, and meet their other requirements. In its hurry, of course, paced up by Islamabad, to make the Americans to leave the country, they forgot everything about the masses. Sometimes, the single-lens game proves more harmful than anything else. The parameters of the governance should have been drawn in advance in consultation with all the groups. To start innings with hate for other groups, as is visible the way Taliban is targeting the security forces personnel and others who had worked for the previous regimes, has many fault lines, and these cannot be corrected unless a holistic approach is adopted. The Taliban has its core goals to accomplish and it would not hesitate in taking on Pakistan, and Pakistani army, when it comes to its geography and the ideology.
As the current situation prevails in Afghanistan, the world is wary of routing humanitarian aid – food, medicine and other supplies – through Taliban. The Taliban, by its acts of omission and commission, has deepened the trust deficit of the world about its intentions.