Parliamentary Special Committee on Kashmir Chairperson Shehryar Khan Afridi left netizens disgusted after he compared women in Pakistan and the west and lectured Pakistanis to ‘return to their roots’ with haste.
Journalit Tanzil Gillani posted a video of Afridi strolling through New York’s Time Square and said that ethnic groups such as Baloch, Sindhi, Punjabi etc. all respected women. Afridi seemingly gestured towards a woman nearby and opined that the same did not hold true for people in the US who were supposedly the harbingers of human rights.
Gilani said it was shocking that a man with views like Afridi represented Pakistan at the United Nations (UN) on his trip.
He will be representing Pakistan in UN tomorrow. “Enjoy qoum ke beti”…
Unbelievable !!! pic.twitter.com/fuAEpeYg79
— Tanzil Gillani (@TanzilGillani) September 19, 2021
Educationist and activist Ammar Ali Jan said that Afridi belonged to Pakistan where the literacy rate for females was less than 50 percent, whereas maternal mortality rates were amongst the highest in the world. Jan added that there was a surge in gendered violence in Pakistan, but Afridi was concerned about ‘women in the West’ instead.
Minister from a country with a female literacy rate of ~48%, one of the world's highest rates of maternal mortality & a brutal ongoing epidemic of sexual violence is worried about the status of women in the West. https://t.co/Eg5Q2fpiGb
— Ammar Rashid (@AmmarRashidT) September 19, 2021
A law student, Anaya Khan, said the actual message of freedom for women was lost on Afridi when he pointed towards a ‘daughter of the US’ disapprovingly. Anaya said that women in the US roamed around freely at night because they felt safe doing so. To that end, she added that Afridi ought to learn from women in the US instead of shaming them.
What he is blind to is the fact that uss ‘qaum ki betiyan’ are not afraid to be out at this hour. They feel safe. His ‘qaum ki betiyan’ are literally afraid for their lives. Instead of learning from this & having some shame, he is shaming them?? PTI is so tone deaf. https://t.co/1NeamnQJ1a
— Anaya Khan (@AnayaNKhan) September 20, 2021
Correspondent Secundar Kermani said that one could only ‘facepalm’ at Afridi’s video clip in which he walked around in a ‘tight t-shirt’ to lecture Americans on their own culture.
One minute and one second of pure facepalm as this Pakistani politician, in a rather tight t-shirt, sermonises about the state of American women https://t.co/jbyog7AZz5
— Secunder Kermani (@SecKermani) September 19, 2021
Afridi’s t-shirt was a recurring point of criticism as several suggested it was hypocritical that he wore an American apparel brand to lambast the US, while strolling in an iconic tourist spot in the US itself. Lawyer Jalila Haider called upon Federal Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari and asked her why Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI’s) members were so ‘brainless’.
What is this @ShireenMazari1? Why your party people are so brainless? If he does not like US why is he going at first place and wearing T-SHIRT and jeans and cursing their culture? This is disgusting they should not behave childish. https://t.co/Lo0AnVjCR0
— Jalila Haider جرقہ در ظلمت، انفجار در سکوت (@Advjalila) September 19, 2021
Others also echoed Haider’s remarks on Afridi’s attire.
Him proudly wearing the name of an American Jewish guy on his chest is just the right amount of irony. https://t.co/Yu6jwHX17R
— Ozy (@LahoriElite) September 19, 2021
Why come to USA wearing US brand T-Shirt, if you don't like them? https://t.co/uCYVhvHMd1
— AkhileshGM (@Akhigm) September 20, 2021
Levi’s کی شرٹ پہن کر دوسروں کو اپنی بنیادوں اے جُڑنے کی تلقین کی جا رہی ہے۔ او ہو، اب کیا کہا جائے اس منافقت کا۔ https://t.co/OZP5lIs2Cx
— Intikhab Amir (@intikhabamir) September 20, 2021
Several Twitter users insisted that Afridi should be called back to Pakistan. A user even suggested starting a trend on the platform to pressurize Afridi’s return so that he would never embarrass the country again.
Please let's have a trend to recall him and make sure he never goes again. Embarrassing and disgusting https://t.co/0YaJM0i3BX
— Anees Hassan Khan (@AneesHassanKhan) September 19, 2021
What is he on? He should be called back asap! https://t.co/NUwhmSzJ3o
— Huma Maqsood (@huma_maqsood) September 20, 2021
Afridi reached the US on Wednesday to take up the Kashmir cause in front of an international audience on various platforms. According to media reports, Afridi would be meeting with US Congress members, think tanks and human rights organizations to apprise them about Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir.
The minister was seen in Manhattan as representatives from member countries flocked into US to attend the UN General Assembly, which would be held in New York this week.