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ADUN SPEAKS | PAS' conundrum in supporting Taliban but without violence

ADUN SPEAKS | I find it terribly confusing about PAS' exact ideological position on the Taliban in Afghanistan?

On the one hand, PAS supports the Taliban because it is an Islamic organisation. But on the other hand, it wants to distance itself from the violence of the Taliban.

How is this possible? Isn't this hypocrisy on the part of PAS, an Islamic party in Malaysia.

How can you support an organisation that has been internationally labelled as terrorist but yet say that violence cannot be condoned?

PAS is like an eel, and it wants to show its fish-like head to the fish and its snake-like tail to the snake.

PAS might have a religious, Islamic label, but for all intents and purposes, it is a political party that depends on votes during elections.

Shorn of the religious image, it is just an ordinary political party that survives on the basis of its Islamic credentials.

This is why the party lacking political credibility has to ride on the bandwagon of the Taliban victory in Afghanistan.

It is a party neither here nor there.

Its hallmark is to keep the Muslim population in Malaysia in a state of confusion, hoping that such a state might be helpful to the party.

Taliban forces on patrol in Herat, Afghanistan

PAS has gone to town with the victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

While other Malay-Muslim parties took a cautious approach to the victory of the Taliban, PAS went the extra mile to welcome the victory.

It was the son of the PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, Batu Buruk assemblyperson Muhammad Khalil Abdul Hadi, who said that he was glad the Taliban was able to end the "clutches of imperialism" in a tweet.

When he was taken to task for supporting a terrorist organisation, he removed his tweet. This speaks well for his consistency and bravery in the face of the odds.

The Taliban's victory in August 2021 has been used by the party to gain maximum political mileage.

Not to be undone, PAS Youth wing chief Khairul Nizam Khirudin said that if China could engage in negotiations with Taliban, why shouldn't Malaysia take the effort to recognise the new Afghanistan administration.

A few months after the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, Hadi met with the Afghan UN representatives in the Middle East. The objective was how Malaysia could play a role in addressing the country's deteriorating human rights and economic situation.

Foreign Affairs Minister Saifuddin Abdullah defended Hadi on the grounds that as a special envoy, he had a role in the Middle East.

But Saifuddin missed the point that Afghanistan was unfortunately not in the Middle East. Unless, of course, there was a change to give special status to Afghanistan as part of the Middle East.

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang

The remarks by Bukit Aman's counter-terrorism chief Normah Ishak might have infuriated the PAS leaders.

She said that PAS, by creating narratives of Taliban, was trying to endear the organisation to the Muslims or the "fans of terrorism in the country.

PAS was offended by Normah's remarks. Both the party information chief, Khairil Nizam and its spiritual advisor Hashim Jasin took umbrage at her remarks.

They argued that the support of PAS for the Taliban was on the basis of religious or fraternal affiliation and had nothing to do with violence or the persecution of women and minorities in the country.

Hashim was of the opinion that Normah's remarks had cast negative aspersions on the party.

Taliban is a banned organisation at the international level.

The fact that it has come to power by expelling the Americans has not drastically changed its status as a terrorist outfit known for the extreme persecution of women and minorities.

The reasons are well-known why PAS is desperate to link it with the Taliban. They are purely based on political and electoral considerations.

It is easy for PAS leaders to say that their affiliation with the Taliban is mainly from a religious or Islamic point of view.

How can PAS leaders dismiss the fact that Taliban and violence are inseparable? Is PAS prepared to acknowledge the fact that supporting the Taliban is as good as supporting violence?

How the holier than thou PAS leaders are going to get out of the conundrum of supporting the Taliban and yet not supporting violence is difficult to tell.

P RAMASAMY is Perai assemblyperson and Penang deputy chief minister II.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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