KANDAHAR CITY: Hundreds of residents of southern Kandahar province on Sunday rallied against Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s remarks about the war in Afghanistan.
On October 10, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief declared the fighting in Afghanistan a holy war “against foreign occupation”. Khan told journalists in Peshawar that there was no justification for the jihad in Pakistan.
On Saturday, the Afghanistan Ulema Council strongly denounced Khan’s statement. It said Afghanistan was a predominantly Muslim country, whose constitution was focused on adherence to Islamic teachings. It added everybody was not qualified to issue fatwas (decrees).
Carrying national flags, the protestors burnt a portrait of Khan, an Oxford graduate. They chanted slogans against the PTI leader and torched Pakistan’s national flag at the Dand Square in the city.
“Imran’s description of the Afghan war as a jihad clearly shows Pakistan’s hostility. How he dared make such a statement,” asked one of the demonstrators, Noor Mohammad, who accused the neighbouring country of betraying the Afghans over the decades.
He said: “For months, Pakistan has been firing missile barrages into eastern Kunar province on a daily basis, but we remain silent. We must move to prevent the cross-border incursions.”
Another protestor, Baz Khan, said: “Pakistan facilitated the US invasion of Afghanistan on the one hand and is infiltrating rebels into our country to kill our people and destroy our schools and houses on the other.