Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has made some controversial opinions public, claiming that not providing women with education is part of the ethnic Pashtun culture.
At an international forum in Islamabad on Sunday, the 69-year old addressed the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting which saw the Secretary General Hissein Ibrahim Taha discuss the situation in Afghanistan, among other issues.
At the conference, member States decided to establish a humanitarian ‘Trust Fund’ to provide assistance to Afghanistan, which has only just announced it would resume issuing travel documents for its citizens.
“Every society’s idea of human rights and women rights are different”, Khan said.
“If we are not sensitive to cultural norms of these people, even with stipends people in Afghanistan won’t send their girls to school.”
“If we are sensitive to their cultural norm, without stipends they will send their girls to school. When we are talking about human rights and women rights, we have to be sensitive about this. But my big worry is useless action is taken immediately, Afghanistan is heading for chaos”.
His remarks have sparked outrage from former Afghan leaders, including former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who condemned Khan’s speech, asking him not to interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs and urging Pakistan’s premier not to speak on behalf of Afghans.
In an English statement published on Monday, Karzai called Khan’s remarks “an attempt to sow discord among Afghans, and an insult to the Afghan people”.
“Moreover, allegation that #ISIS is active in #Afghanistan, threatening #Pakistan from #Afghanistan is clear propaganda, as the reality has been the opposite,” he wrote.
“The threat of #ISIS has been directed from #Pakistan against #Afghanistan from the very onset.”
“The former President urges the Gov of #Pak to strictly refrain from propagating against #Afg and interfering in our internal affairs.”
“#Pakistan should avoid speaking on behalf of #Afghanistan in international forums . It should work towards creating positive and civilised relations between the two countries,” Karzai said.
Former Afghan vice president Amrullah Saleh also lashed out against Khan’s remarks, calling them “disgusting and ignorant.”
On Twitter, he expressed how the comments indicated the wish Islamabad had for Afghanistan to be uneducated and dependent on Pakistan.
In August, the Taliban took complete control over the nation of 39 million, issuing a ban on girls returning to secondary schools and segregating classes by gender, among other human-rights violating actions.
Among the 68 delegations at the OIC conference, only 6 were women.