A young Taliban boy in Islamabad

Iqbal Choudhry

ISLAMABAD: He is 11 or 12-year-old boy. He has a fair complexion like traditional Pathans. He has blue eyes with innocent face.

He attracts me due to his strong reply to crowd who are busy in questioning him in a pleasant mood.

“Yes, I am a Taliban” he replied while standing at I 10/Markaz. After my several queries in his own language -Pushtoo -, .he told me about his name Salman Khan, a resident of Bajuar Agency.

According to him, his family was displaced due to military operation and they settled in Islamabad about three months ago.

Five local shopkeepers, encircling the boy, were asking different kind of questions.

One of them said: “You are Taliban”.

“Yes, I am a Taliban” he replied proudly, replying to the teasing questions from shopkeepers.

Actually, he doesn’t know about the meaning of Taliban but he showed strong courage.

Replying to my soft questions, he explained that he used to study in a local religious seminary in Bajuar Agency where all students were called ‘Taliban’.

“So young students who used to studies in local religious seminaries were proud of being Taliban,” he said.

He has entirely a different concept of word Taliban in his mind. According to him Taliban are students of religious seminaries who always preach good things according to Islam.

When I informed him that the people here don’t like Taliban, he immediately said, “I don’t care about them because I am following a right way”.

The youngster believed that people, who hate Taliban, are friends of America.

After this conversation, I could not differentiate who is right or wrong at that moment.

But, a positive and constructive role of religious seminaries is harmless for society.

It means we need to set an acceptable pattern of religious’ seminaries which helped the traditional people get education according to their own desires.

The Post, 24/10/2008

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