Ambassador Munir Akram says no disrespect meant to ‘highly progressive’ Pukhtun culture in UN speech

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 03 (APP):Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram, has said that no disrespect was meant to Pukhtun culture in a statement he delivered at the humanitarian briefing on Afghanistan at the UN on Wednesday, and expressed regrets if his remarks were misunderstood or hurt anyone’s feelings.

“There was no disrespect meant to Pushtun culture which is highly progressive and deserves all respect across the world.” Ambassador Akram, a veteran diplomat, said in response to a question on Thursday.

He said his reference was to the “peculiar perspective” of a small minority, which has resulted in the restrictions on Afghan women, while pointing out that these restrictions were not consistent with Islam and the Sharia – which provides all rights to women, including to work and education.

“Consistent with our policy,” the ambassador said he once again underlined that Pakistan had conveyed its opposition to the restrictions on women to the Afghan Interim Government, and urged the international community to engage with and patiently persuade the Afghan Interim Government to lift these restrictions.

In the meantime, he called for continuing international humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan which is critical for the survival of its impoverished people.