As early as July, as US and coalition forces began to leave Afghanistan and the Taliban gained power in Afghanistan, people everywhere began to talk about the future of Afghanistan and express their views. Faizullah, a journalist friend of mine and a prisoner in Afghanistan, said during a gossip at a press club one day that there were more Afghan experts in Pakistan than there were in Afghanistan.
By the way, the situation was such that anyone who did not even know about the Afghan palao was giving his opinion on the political understanding of Afghans. Similarly, the debates on Afghanistan on TV shows could have been better for ratings, but they could not have helped in any way to establish a stable public opinion.
In such a situation, Pakistan Corporate Group organized two separate online discussions titled Afghanistan Conference in which politicians, diplomats, former military officers and national and foreign experts from academia participated. The first session of the Afghanistan Conference was attended by Senator Shirin Rehman, former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States and Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Shirin Mazari, Federal Minister for Human Rights.
I felt that the dialogue would have two very different perspectives on the Taliban in Afghanistan.
What is Shirin Rehman’s attitude towards the screen? I came to know about this when as the Vice President of Karachi Union of Journalists I organized the first Women Journalists Convention and invited Shereen Rehman Sahiba as the special guest.
I was accompanied by female Vice President Sofia Yazdani, who has received several APNS Awards as well as a Presidential Award to welcome Shereen Rehman to the program. But seeing them, Shireen Rehman’s attitude changed. Not only that, but Shereen Rehman refused to shake hands with Sofia Yazdani, receive the shield and sit next to her and sat our colleague Sabin Agha, who was sitting a short distance away on the stage, with her.
Well, at a recent online conference, Shirin Mazari, on the other hand, backed an agreement with the government and the Taliban to establish sharia in Swat.
Both women attended the conference online with the same background in mind. But Shereen Rehman’s talk did not show a more extremist attitude towards the formation of the Taliban government, but rather he put forward his position in a very subdued manner.
Surprisingly, instead of speaking out against the Taliban, Rehman talked about the formation of a Taliban government and its impact on Pakistan. Shereen Rehman said that the world was shocked at the dramatic end of the government in Kabul and the coming to power of the Taliban. Many people in the world do not want to see change.
The establishment of a Taliban government in Kabul is one of the fastest growing events of this century. A Cold War has begun in the region. The situation in Afghanistan is important for the stability of the region. Internal peace and stability in Afghanistan is also important for Pakistan.
Why is Afghanistan important to us? The two countries share borders and whatever happens in Afghanistan affects Pakistan, especially Karachi. Karachi is the most populous city in the world. More Pashtuns live in Karachi than in Kabul and Peshawar.
Mazari, on the other hand, spoke openly about the Taliban’s position, saying that there are many countries in Europe where Muslim women do not have the right to cover their heads. Every country has its own law, and if the Taliban allow women to cover their heads and get involved in education and other aspects of life, it should be respected.
Moreover, instead of reacting immediately to the formation of the Taliban government and their actions, they should be given time and adopt a “watch and wait” policy.
Both women politicians agreed that the United States had delayed negotiations with the Taliban, while the US-backed Afghan government had failed to establish popularity among the people, which is why it ended.
Rehman said that Pakistan had advised the United States in 2010 to hold talks in Afghanistan but the United States refused. At that time, the situation was in favor of the United States. But by the time the United States began negotiations, the Taliban had established its influence in Afghanistan.