Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Monday lashed out at the Taliban regime in Afghanistan for its latest “retrogressive” move of banning women from travelling alone in public spaces. The Taliban on Sunday said women seeking to make long distance journeys should not be offered transport service, if they are not accompanied by a close male relative.
Chaudhry decried the step. “Women can’t travel alone or go to schools and colleges (alone) this kind of retrogressive thinking is a danger for Pakistan,” the minister said. Afghanistan has been under Taliban rule since August 15 when the Afghan hardline militant group ousted the elected government of President Ashraf Ghani and forced him to flee the country and take refuge in the UAE. Girls are out of schools in several provinces and educated females face a grim future.
Chaudhry said Pakistan should chart its own course of progressiveness. He paid tribute to Mohammad Ali Jinnah, saying Pakistan was created for “preserving (a) minority rights and safeguarding them”.
He also said that Jinnah clarified the role of minorities in Pakistan by envisioning a state having no business with religious matters. He also said that Jinnah never wanted Pakistan to become a religious state, and his entire lifestyle was at variance from the people who used his name even today to make Pakistan a backward country.
Chaudhry said the current Pakistan was different from what Jinnah and poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal had in mind as it was a product of the retrogressive thinking that came to prevail later and led to the decline of Pakistan. “This fight (against regressive thinking) is very important for Pakistan’s survival and only by winning it can we or any other country move forward, he said.