Back to old Afghanistan

"Afghanistan's supreme leader and Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada has ordered Afghan women to wear the all-covering burqa at public places. Earlier they banned girls’ education and put strict restrictions on media"

As was feared by all of us since the fall of Kabul in August last year when the Taliban captured the country, the Kabul regime has started coming up with its own version of government. In a fresh development, Afghanistan’s supreme leader and Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada has ordered Afghan women to wear the all-covering burqa at public places. The step is just another one so far imposed by the Taliban. In fact, the Taliban regime never shied away from enforcing what they believed in from day one. Earlier, they banned girls education and later on, imposed strict restrictions on university students and the media. The militia, which has not been recognized by even a single country, was advised by well-wishers to act moderately so as to win acceptability by the international community. The whole world is watching the mechanism and working style of the Taliban regime cautiously. The previous government of Imran Khan fought relentlessly for the relief package from the world for the people of Afghanistan and also hosted an OIC ministerial conference for Afghans. But the regime is following its own orthodox agenda.

The fresh decree by the Taliban chief says that the women should “wear a head-to-toe burqa”, called Chadori in Persian, as “it is traditional and respectful”.

Do Afghan women need dress policing?
A friend in Kabul says that women on Kabul streets wear modest dresses, covering their bodies from head to toe. They cover their head with headscarves, which is the traditional and cultural dress of Afghanistan. In most parts of Afghanistan, women voluntarily wear the face-covering burqa, which is acceptable since it involves no governmental compulsion.

Women dress policing has been the hallmark of the Taliban rule since the 1990s. Similarly, women cannot step out of the house unless they are accompanied by a male relative.

The Taliban’s optics may win the favour of warlords, but the international community may not sit well with such laws and measures. The end-sufferers, however, will be the Afghan people, especially women.

Pakistan has been in the grip of an unprecedented devastating heatwave since the months of spring. The Minute Mirror office has been running on compulsory air conditioners since March. All households have got their ACs serviced and fine-tuned to combat the sizzling summer. But what worried me the most is the report by Robert Rohde, a scientist at Berkeley Earth, that “the heatwave is likely to kill thousands” in India and Pakistan. Most of the casualties will be the elderly poor. Whenever there is a hot day, power blackouts become a new normal. Similarly, whenever there is freezing winter, the first thing to disappear is the gas supply. Thank goodness, that the power supply remained stable during the Eid break. Now when Eid week is over and workplaces are back to usual working, the supply-demand gap is likely to widen. Pakistanis have learned to live on backups in the shape of power generators and UPS. These makeshift arrangements have worked as sedatives for the public as well as the government. In the coming days when temperatures would further climb, the South Asia region will be among the most vulnerable to heatwaves, according to Camilo Mora, a professor at the University of Hawaii.

What is the way forward to beat the scorching temperatures coming up with heatwaves?

The solution lies in studying the patterns of climate change, which has generated heatwaves. If our climate ministry people find time, they should read a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which says “… in India and Pakistan, more intense heat waves of longer durations and occurring at a higher frequency are projected”.