Pakistani police block Afghan female artists’ exhibition in Islamabad

Pakistani police have blocked Afghan female artists living in exile from hosting an exhibition in Islamabad, where they planned to showcase paintings depicting the plight of women in Afghanistan, according to some artists.

The event, scheduled for Monday, was intended to highlight the challenges faced by Afghan women. Pakistani authorities have not commented on the matter.

Artist Zainab Jamali expressed that her work portrays the dire conditions of Afghan women and girls. The police’s intervention compelled the artists to move their exhibition indoors. “Girls lack access to education, and women are denied their rights,” Jamali said. “The Taliban are pulling us back into darkness. We hoped to use our art to amplify our voices globally.”

Another artist, Nilab, emphasized the educational barriers for Afghan girls. “As the new school year approaches, Afghan women and girls’ conditions remain primitive,” she noted. “We urge the international community to give more attention to the situation of females in Afghanistan.”

Following the police’s prohibition, the event organizers were forced to convene the artists in a private location. Mubashir Bakhtiar, one of the organizers, recounted the police’s rationale: “They told us we could continue our opposition to the Taliban, but not in a foreign country, and even confiscated some of our teachers’ passports, among other issues.”

The artists argue that Afghan women and girls are experiencing dire circumstances beyond comprehension.