The Daily Times, June 25, 2003

'Free press vital for Afghan development'
Staff Report

PESHAWAR: Speakers at a seminar on Tuesday said the suggestions of Afghan refugees living in Pakistan should be given proper consideration in the formulation of new Afghan constitution.

The seminar, titled Judgement of the Opinions of Afghan Refugees, was arranged by the Office of Constitutional Laws for Afghanistan in Peshawar.

Representative of the Revolutionary Association of the Afghan Women (RAWA), Shakeeba Mehmood welcomed the formulation of new constitution. "The refugees living in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) are not clear whether the constitution will be framed by the sitting warlords or by the real representatives of Afghanis. Religion and government are two separate subjects and should be interpreted by the stake-holders only," she said.

She said free press and freedom of thought and expression were prerequisites for Afghans' real development. "It is the dilemma of our nation that we have always been kept in chains by warlords for their vested interests," she added. A Jihadi activist, Qazi Amin Waqad, said only Islam should be the state religion of Afghanistan.


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