Syed Saddiq slams PAS over its messages lauding the Taliban

By John Isaac

MUAR MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has slammed PAS for congratulating the Taliban for its return to power in Afghanistan.

In a video excerpt uploaded to Instagram, Syed Saddiq said that although the Taliban promised to make changes, including in women’s rights, what the group did when in power should not be forgotten.

This, Syed Saddiq said, includes ethnic cleansing, trafficking of women and children of certain tribes to foreign countries, as well as a death toll of more than 200,000 since 2001 – in addition to about 2.7 million Afghans becoming refugees.

He also recalled the incident of violence against Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head when she was just 15 years old in 2012, as a vocal teenager defending women’s right to receive an education there.

“If the Taliban is very good, why are there tens of thousands of Afghans fleeing Afghanistan, (until they are) willing to climb on a moving plane and until some fall and die, because they want to leave Afghanistan under Taliban rule.

“Those who disagreed with the Taliban were shot dead, and believe me, this is just the beginning. Even worse things will happen,” said the former minister.

“This is what I do not understand with PAS – why are they glorifying the Taliban,” he asked.

Syed Saddiq reminded Malaysians that Malaysia as a progressive, moderate and multi-racial country, should never be equated with the Taliban.

The Taliban returned to power last week as the United States withdrew its forces from the country. It had previously held power from 1996 to 2001 in an administration known for its brutal suppression of human rights and harbouring of terrorists.

Yesterday, Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin described the Taliban’s previous rule in Afghanistan before it was overthrown by the US as “extreme and backward” and called for international pressure to ensure that the group will not return to such policies.

Zuraida, from Bersatu, said she had personally witnessed the Taliban’s oppression of women in Afghanistan during a relief mission in 2002.

“While we disagree with US imperialism, we are also worried about Afghanistan’s future, particularly for women who were previously oppressed by the Taliban,” she added.

“I saw the condition of women and girls in the country. Women are generally treated as second-class citizens and their rights denied by the (Taliban) government,” she said.

Earlier, PAS’ organ Harakahdaily, in an article titled “Taliban’s moderate image being accepted by the people”, quoted the Islamist party’s international affairs and foreign relations bureau chief Muhammad Khalil Abdul Hadi describing the Taliban as “very moderate”.

Khalil said the Taliban’s “moderation” can be seen by its promise to protect women’s rights and allow them to work.

Khalil, who is the son of PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, previously got into trouble with Facebook and Twitter after he congratulated the Taliban for its return to power. – Malaysiakini