Afghan govt condemns Imran’s jihad comment

by Ayesha Hasan

 

Originally published in The Express Tribune on 13th October 2012

 

KABUL: The reverberations of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan’s political gaffe are being felt across the Durand Line.

The Afghan government has strongly condemned the PTI chief for his statement, said Farhad Azimi, deputy secretary of the Afghan parliament while talking to The Express Tribune.

“This is clear interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. We urge the Pakistani government to arrest people who support the Taliban,” Azimi said. Imran, while visiting child activist Malala Yousafzai in Peshawar on Thursday, had termed the ongoing war in Afghanistan against foreign troops ‘jihad.’

Azimi said Afghan President Hamid Karzai will meet members of parliament in a regular session on Saturday (today) to discuss the issue.

He is likely to issue some directions in this regard, Azimi said.

 Political slogan

Veteran journalist and political analyst Fahim Dashti said this is not the first time Imran has given such a ‘negative’ statement about Afghanistan.

“It is a political slogan through which Khan wants to gain more support. Clearly this is neither fair nor logical,” Dashti said.

Those who consider terrorism a threat would never support Khan in this stance, Dashti said, adding “even if they are supporting him, he will lose them slowly.”

He said the Afghan people had high expectations from Imran when the PTI emerged as a strong political entity, but he proved to be a conventional politician.

‘Imran supported by Taliban’

“The war in Afghanistan is not jihad. This is a war by terrorists against Afghanistan, its people and the entire international community,” said Hamid Zazai, managing director of Mediothek, an Afghan-German NGO.

He alleged that Khan is receiving support from the Taliban, and that by making such statements, he is just “paving the way for stronger Taliban support than what he is enjoying now.’

Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2012.

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