While addressing the United Nations (UN) earlier today, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pashtuns living in the tribal regions in Pakistan had strong sympathies with the Afghan Taliban because of Pashtun nationalism ‘which is very strong’. “There were 3 million refugees in Pakistan living in camps and they all had sympathies with Afghan Taliban and they too turned against Pakistan and attacked the Pakistan government,” he said.
Khan further said that when the army went to the tribal areas for the first time, there was collateral damage and it multiplied the militants who were seeking revenge. He also said that the US conducted 480 drone attacks in Pakistan and they cause collateral damage.
“Those whose relatives were being killed sought revenge against Pakistan. At one point, there were bombs going on in Pakistan. Our capital was like a fortress,” he said. The PM added that had it not been for the the Pakistan Army, Pakistan would have never recovered from the fallout of war of terror.
Prime Minister Khan’s statement terming Pashtuns sympathisers of the Taliban has been criticised with people calling it a gross generalisation. Some on social media also said that the PM was engaging in casual racism by terming all Pashtuns supporters of the Taliban.
MNA Mohsin Dawar took to Twitter to react to the PM’s statements about Pashtuns.
Just shocked at how the PM of Pakistan can describe Taliban as Pashtun nationalists. The Taliban is a project of Pakistan’s Generals for decimating Pashtun identity. Does the PM really think that the world is so uninformed that he can sell such lies on the UNGA forum?” he tweeted.
Twitter users used the hashtag #PashtunsNeverSupportedTaliban condemning the PM’s statement.
Many reminded the PM how Pashtuns were the first target of the Taliban.
Pashtun victims of terrorism were also remembered by Twitterati condemning the PM’s statement.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a wide-ranging interview with CNN, had said that the Americans never understood what the Haqqani Network was. “Haqqani Network is a tribe. It is a Pashtun tribe living in Afghanistan,” he said.