A New Approach

Nov 2012

Pakistan and the world needs to change its approach to secure women rights.

What happened to Malala Yousafzai was a horrific act that shows that the Taliban will not hesitate to use terror as a weapon to create fear amongst the population. While the world has the option to choose its stories, we, in Pakistan, do not have that luxury. As in other wars, the most affected are the least protected and most vulnerable amongst the population: women and children. The blame doesn’t lie with one party alone. They are all culpable. The U.S. violates human rights in the region with drones which kill many innocents. The Pakistani military, while striving to clear the region, also humiliates and kills locals. Finally, the Taliban who want to wrest away the state from a legitimate but poorly managed government, also deploy violence.

Pakistan is now paying the price for its involvement in Afghanistan. During the 1970s, about 5 million Afghan refugees entered Pakistan, a fourth of Afghanistan’s population. Many lived in camps and others merged into the Pakistani population. The first group of refugees included a large portion of Afghanistan’s rural elite who fled their country out of fear of arrest by the Tarakki communist regime that wanted to undo feudal practices in the country by imposing family law reforms aimed at giving equal rights to women, including a share in property. These refugees came in 1978. That year, roughly 27,000 Afghans were murdered in the infamous Pule Charkhi jail in Kabul. A year later, the Soviets would invade Afghanistan.

After the invasion, the flow of refugees increased as did the resistance by the mujahideen who were orchestrated by the U.S. and Pakistan. The U.S. spent $51 million of a USAID grant to develop textbooks in Dari and Pashto for Afghan schools exalting the violence of the mujahid against the USSR. (The textbooks, produced by the University of Nebraska, continue to circulate.) With Pakistan acting as the conduit, these books—as well as arms and money—were funneled to the mujahideen.

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One Response to A New Approach

  1. Room for Debate | Tanqeed on Nov 2012 at 12:06 PM

    […] A New Approach | Khalid Aziz […]

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