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Women education postponed, not banned, says Afghan diplomat

By Yousaf Ali
February 06, 2023

PESHAWAR: Afghan Consular General Hafiz Mohibullah has said that the women’s education in Afghanistan both at elementary and higher level would be resumed once ground for the purpose was surfaced.

“Women education has not been banned but postponed in the war-torn Afghanistan and the postponement is aimed at reforming the educational system and syllabus,” he said while speaking at a one-day seminar here.

The seminar on “The Concept of Higher Education for Women in Islam” was organized by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS), a non-governmental research organization.

Noted religious scholar Mufti Ghulamur Rahman presided over the proceedings of the seminar, which was also addressed by chairman of IRS Dr Mohammad Iqbal Khalil, Prof Naheed Ali, Mian Mohammad Akram and Alamgir Afridi.

Hafiz Mohibullah said education was the process for getting knowledge and no Muslim can deny its importance.

However, the situation in Afghanistan cannot be compared with other countries of the world, he said, adding that the people of Afghanistan suffered decades long war first with the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and then at the hands of the United States.

He said nothing against the basic principles of Islam can be allowed. The teachings of Islam are equally implementable on all, he added.

The Afghan diplomat was of the opinion that during the US-supported Ashraf Ghani administration, the curriculum of education was also polluted and lessons pertaining to Islamic teachings were removed from the syllabus.

The curriculum is also being reformed and once the process was completed and the situation was made favourable, women education at all levels would be resumed, he declared. However, co-education would not be allowed, he clarified.

He said that the government of Islamic Emirate had its own ministries for education and training and they were committed to promoting education in their country.

He said that they could not be compared with the Ashraf Ghani administration, who was ruling just one-third of Afghanistan. On the other hand, the Taliban are ruling every village, town, city, district and province of Afghanistan, he said. Therefore, it was not true that they have worked for the promotion of education, he added.

Hafiz Mohibullah said that knowledge was life and it was the opposite of ignorance.

The Afghans suffered ideological invasion at the hands of the USSR after the Soviet Revolution in 1919, he remarked. The Soviet institutions started establishing in Afghanistan during the reign of Ghazi Amanullah Khan, he said.

After decades of the modification of the minds and ideologies of the Afghans, the Soviet forces physically invaded Afghanistan in 1979.

The Afghans defeated the Soviet forces by the grace of Allah, their migration and support of the neighbors within ten years of resistance, he said.

Then came the US invaders, who toppled the government of the Afghan Taliban in 2001 and occupied the country. The US invasion too was effectively resisted and they were thrown out of the country after 20 years of successful resistance, he said.

During their 20 years of occupation, the US and Nato forces did not do any basic development in the field of medicine, trade or any other fundamental thing for the uplift of Afghanistan, he said.

Dr Mohammad Iqbal Khalil argued that women education was more necessary than the education of men as women have to take care of their children, the family and thus the society in general.

He said that the higher and professional education of women carried immense importance. Women need to become teachers, doctors and other professionals and work for promotion of female education and cater the health-related needs of women, he said.

However, Afghanistan was an independent state and they could not intervene in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, he remarked.

Prof Naheed Ali was the most articulate among the speakers on the subject. She shed light on the status of women, their rights, importance of female education and contribution of women in social development. She explained every point in line with the teachings of Islam in a very attractive manner.

“Humans do not belong to the genre of monkeys but they are the offspring of prophets,” she said. They are the best of the creatures because of knowledge and without knowledge completion of the capabilities of humans are not possible, she said.

It is the basic right of every individual to have access to education from primary to higher level, she said. “Women should be taught Islamic education first so that their exploitation could be prevented,” she added.

“Certain women are gifted with special qualities like certain men. Therefore, they should be allowed to benefit the society through their capabilities,” she remarked. There are a number of fields in which the contributions of women are necessary for other women, she said. In view of the current economic situation, women are required to work to support their families, she said.

She referred to the recent deadly blast in Peshawar Police Lines in which more than a hundred persons were martyred rendering their children orphans and wives’ widows.

“Now it would be easier for the educated and working women of the bereaved families to take better care of the upbringing of their children,” she argued.