By Mariam Mokhtar
On February 3, PAS president Hadi Awang met Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar, and discussed how Malaysia could provide economic and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.
There are many unsettling things about this meeting.
Why is Hadi in a hurry to befriend the Taliban?
Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah has acknowledged that the Malaysian government has yet to officially recognize the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan. Moreover, we are still awaiting the UN’s decision on the matter.
Hadi was rewarded for his loyalty to both Mahiaddin Yassin and Ismail Sabri, with a post as Malaysia’s special envoy to the Middle East despite lacking diplomatic credentials.
When engaging with the Taliban, he failed to observe protocol. He is acting outside his remit.
If Hadi cared to look at the map of the world, he would notice that Afghanistan is not in the Middle East. Afghanistan is in South Central Asia, sandwiched between Iran, Pakistan, China, and some countries of the former Soviet Union.
Why should Hadi go out of his way to entertain the Taliban? Why can’t Hadi focus on the Middle East only?
Most Malaysians know that Hadi has been silent on issues in the Middle East. He failed to inform us about his ideas to reduce the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel.
What efforts has he made to stop the war in Yemen? How will he help the malnourished Yemeni children and those who were maimed because of the war? Will he provide humanitarian aid to the victims of the war in Yemen?
So, when Hadi reached out to the extremist Taliban, was he trying to demonstrate to the conservative faction in Kelantan that he is an ally of Muslim nations throughout the world, including those with terrorist links?
Hadi should not meddle in Afghanistan which is not even in the Middle East. By having talks with the Taliban even before the UN and Malaysia’s recognition of the Taliban, Hadi has managed to tarnish Malaysia’s international image.
Has Hadi forgotten the tyranny of the Taliban? The international community must be concerned that Malaysia is cozying up to Afghanistan.
The Taliban are brutal. Women are not allowed to receive an education. LGBTs are murdered and men whose beards are kept neat and short are targeted and beaten up by the religious police.
Promising financial assistance to the Taliban without prior consultation with the PM or the cabinet shows that Hadi ignores national interests and international diplomacy.
Ismail Sabri exposes himself as both a weak and lazy leader who has done little to contain the power-crazed Hadi.
When the Deputy President of Amanah Salahuddin Ayub criticized Hadi’s actions, he was attacked by the Member of Parliament for Sik, Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman, who then accused Amanah’s Salahuddin of being DAP’s puppet.
The clueless Ahmad does not appear to value diplomatic channels, the rules of parliament, democracy and the law.
In the past, when PAS was part of Pakatan Rakyat, everything that DAP did was good, fair and just. All this changed drastically when the convicted felon Najib Abdul Razak wooed Hadi.
Later on, in the lead-up to the Sheraton Move, Hadi and PAS politicians were enticed by the pro-Malay Umno Baru and Bersatu factions in PN.
PAS politicians are desperate for power and position. Their appetite for money and material goods is huge. They are prepared to blame any government wrongdoing on the DAP.
Hadi appears to be blind to the injustices perpetrated by the Taliban. Today, women are not respected in Afghanistan. Those who used to work in the previous American-controlled Afghanistan administration as lawyers, teachers, diplomats and reporters now dress more conservatively. They try to be inconspicuous.
For most of us who access the foreign news, we often see that Taliban power comes from the barrel of AK47.
PAS cabinet ministers like the law and environment ministers have only brought shame to the Malay community.
They appear to be clueless. They neither understand the rules of diplomatic engagement, nor do they care about affairs of the country.
The poor performance of PAS ministers have indirectly cast a spotlight on the Malays.
Because of PAS ministers, many people think most Malays are weak and foolish.
In August last year, Hadi defended the Taliban. He urged us not to trust the Western media and said the Taliban had changed for the better.
I’m sure many of us fail to see how less rights and opportunities for women, ordering men to grow massive, messy beards, or killing anyone who disagrees with them, is better.
Does Hadi not access the news websites? So, why is Hadi blind and unable to see the Taliban’s evil?
Members of the Taliban use firearms to defend their warped interpretation of Islam. Anyone who breaks their rules will be beaten or killed. Weapons are used to propagate Islam.
On the other hand, Hadi and PAS use Islam as a weapon to divide Malaysians.
The Taliban and PAS are alike in many ways. Both of them deviate from the correct teachings of Islam. The Taliban use weapons to defend the religion whilst PAS uses religion as a weapon.
Engaging with the Taliban shows how PAS will have undermined the efforts of Malaysia’s multicultural society.
Hadi is untrustworthy. He does not care about the Malaysian rakyat nor religion. He only cares about his political future.
1. Malaysiakini: Dialogue doesn’t imply recognition of Taliban, says Hadi’s aide
(Mariam Mokhtar is a Freelance Writer.)