Govt should not 'uplift' local Taliban, says Malala on holding talks with TTP

Published October 27, 2021
This screengrab shows Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai during an interview on 'Live with Adil Shahzeb'. — DawnNewsTV
This screengrab shows Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai during an interview on 'Live with Adil Shahzeb'. — DawnNewsTV

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has said the government should not "uplift" the local Taliban and the group had no public support in the country.

She made these remarks in DawnNews' show 'Live with Adil Shahzeb' when she was asked to share her views on recent statements by Prime Minister Imran Khan and others about the government holding talks with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the possibility of reaching an agreement with the group as had been seen in America's case.

In the interview, which was recorded in Birmingham and aired tonight (Wednesday), Yousafzai said: "In my opinion, you enter into agreements when you believe that the concerns of the other side should be taken seriously [or] they are a powerful authority."

"But the Taliban have no public-level support, [people] from none of the areas [in Pakistan] are saying that they want a Taliban government. So, in my opinion, we should not uplift the Pakistan Taliban," she added.

Speaking about the Taliban in general, the Nobel laureate further said there should be no distinction between the good and bad Taliban.

"One should not differentiate between the good and bad [Taliban] as their thinking is the same — of repression [and] forcing their own laws," she said. Yousafzai reiterated that the Taliban took repressive measures, adding that they were against women's rights, girls' education and there was no justice in their governance.

“I do not see any justice system in their governance, but Islam is based on [the principles of] justice,” she said.

Girls' education

When asked about girls' education — a cause she has been working for for years — Yousafzai expressed worry over the situation in Afghanistan.

"The current temporary restriction on girls' education [in Afghanistan] shouldn't turn out to be as long as in their (Taliban's) first tenure [in the government], when the ban stretched for five years,” she said, adding that she feared that. "We don't want a repeat of their previous rule."

However, she added, pressure on the Taliban from activists and Afghan women was a positive sign.

To a question about Pakistan's role for girls' education in Afghanistan, she said the former should support and champion the cause.

"I am very much hopeful that Prime Minister Imran Khan would ... champion [the cause],” she said, urging him to push the Taliban to ensure female education and women's rights in Afghanistan.

Speaking about the Malala Fund, her non-profit organisation, and its role in Afghanistan, she said the fund was working there since 2017 and thus far, $2million had been invested in digital and female education.

Such initiatives were under way, she said, adding that the people working with the fund had to be evacuated following the recent turn of events in Afghanistan.

She said that even though Afghan Taliban leaders such as those involved in the Qatar dialogue and those who could speak English had espoused some level of liberal thought, ordinary members of the group were still following the "old mentality".

"This is why many people in Afghanistan face danger and I appeal to other countries, including Pakistan, to keep their borders open for Afghans."

Recalling that she had also written a letter to PM Imran in this regard and to ensure female education, Malala said she was still awaiting a reply.

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