KARACHI: Pakistani politicians and diplomats are not known to be
politically correct. However, a reasonable expectation from them would be to be careful of what they say on an international platform. Which is why Munir Akram, Pakistan’s Ambassador to United Nations, is being criticized for his statements linking the Taliban’s extremist stance on
female education to Pashtun culture. Here is what the Ambassador from Pakistan got wrong about the Taliban.
Ambassador Akram made the controversial remarks during a briefing at the UN in New York on Wednesday in which he claimed, “The restrictions that have been put by the Afghan interim government, flow not so much from a religious perspective as from a peculiar cultural perspective of the Pashtun culture, which require
women to be kept at home.”
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Naturally, the remarks angered the Afghan representatives who called him out immediately. Former senator Afrasiab Khattak took offence to the remarks and lablled them as an insult to Pakhtuns. He asked the Ambassador, “if Pakistan represents the Taliban now”. Ashraf Haidari, the Afghan ambassador to Sri Lanka, was also angered by the remarks and stated that Ambassador Akram, “Deliberately avoids blaming the extremist ideology of the Taliban for the gender apartheid in Afghanistan, which the TTP [Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan] now desires to enforce in Pakistan too as soon as they can”.
Many took to social media to school the Ambassador of Pakistan on the difference between the Taliban extremism and Pashtun culture.
Not true, Munir Akram. Kabul university was one of the prestigious edu institutes for decades from where not just Afghan women but neighboring countries also got degrees. In Swat Valley ( also Pashtun culture ) we have girls schools since 1930s
— Nazrana G Yousufzai 🦋 (@Nazranausufzai) February 2, 2023
Munir Akram needs a ” Guide to Pashtun Culture for Dummies”.
— Zahrah Sehr Vayani (@ZahrahV) February 3, 2023
— Sami OMAR (@SamiullahOmari1) February 3, 2023
Munir Akram clarified what he meant by speaking to Dawn and he, “Regrets if my remarks (were) misunderstood or hurt anyone’s feelings. There was no disrespect meant to Pashtun culture which is highly progressive and deserves full respect across the world”. He also said his statement was referring to a, “Peculiar perspective of a small minority , which has resulted in the restrictions on women”.