ABC News (Australian), June 12, 2002
Afghans assemble to select interim govt
Meanwhile, a leading Afghan women's group has slammed the Loya Jirga, saying it is corrupt and sponsored by militants and "Taliban bandits".
The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) says many potential candidates to the assembly were pushed aside because they were not allied with Islamic extremists.
The group, which has offices in Pakistan, says the traditional gathering, has been "convened under the patronage of guns and threats and the corruption of fundamentalists".
"By no means is it the Loya Jirga that our people were hoping for," an RAWA statement said.
"When the fundamentalist bandits use guns and money in a show of power to ruthlessly, brutally and widely repress the people; when the UN envoy is encircled by vile-minded and biased advisors and there is no effective UN peacekeeping force, how can we expect that the Loya Jirga would be comprised of well-respected, democratic, anti-jihadi and anti-Taliban people?"
The statement also questions the composition of the assembly, accusing certain members of the Loya Jirga commission of being in cahoots with fundamentalist gangs.
UN envoy to Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi says voting for the Loya Jirga has been plagued by violence and vote-buying but the grand assembly is still representative of the country.
"There were attempts at manipulation, violence, unfortunately. Money was used, threats were used.
DAWN, June 11, 2002
RAWA dissatisfied with Loya Jirga composition
PESHAWAR, June 10: The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) has expressed dismay over the heavy representation to the former warlords on the Loya Jirga, which is being convened in Kabul.
The association said as the Jirga takes in hand its activities the majority of the wounded and bewildered Afghans, who have borne the constant blows of the past 10 years, seemed to be looking at this historic event with disappointed eyes.
Disappointed, because the Jirga has been taken over by the remnants of fundamentalist forces, it says in a statement issued on Monday.
The people are in a fix, because eight candidates were killed during the election process for the nominees to Jirga in various parts of Afghanistan, it said.
According to the Commission of the Loya Jirga, which has supervised the election of members, those who have been involved in war crimes and violation of human rights are not qualified to become Loya Jirga member. But, reports revealed that many well-respected candidates, who were not affiliated with this or that fundamentalist party, were rounded up and pushed aside, it added.
RAWA accused Herat Governor Ismail Khan of using force for getting his maximum members elected by force. According to the association, Mr Khan is competing with Hizb-i-Wahdat and Shoora-i-Nizar to win the favour of the Iranian regime.
The association termed the Loya Jirga a rigged house, dominated by the leaders from Uzbek and Tajik districts. The former warlords placed maximum delegates on the Jirga to influence the proceedings and future decisions.
RAWA said that the formation of the Commission was also unfair and questionable as people like Musa Tiwana, allegedly having links with murderers, are carrying out the proceedings.
The Chief Justice, Maulvi Fazal Hadi Shinwari, who runs a Madressah in Dara Adam Khel in Pakistan, gave a clean chit to Gulbadin Hikmatyar. The chief justice remarks: "Hikmatyar and his supporters played a great role in Afghan Jihad and therefore deserve to be considered in the future government. Neither Gulbadin nor any other committed crimes and hence there is no reason to impose restrictions on them".
RAWA said 50,000 people in Kabul alone had been killed from 1992 to 1996.
"When the chief justice of a ruined Afghanistan so shamelessly ignores the shedding of blood by Hikmatyar group, when the fundamentalist groups use guns and money in a show of power to ruthlessly, brutally and widely repress the people, when the UN envoy is encircled by vile-minded and biased advisers and there is no effective UN peacekeeping force, how can people expect that the Jirga would be composed of well-respected, democratic and anti-Taliban people," it asked.
The RAWA said unless the pathogen of fundamentalism was eliminated from the government and all its departments, no development, no institution and no decision would be untainted.
DAWN, June 11, 2002
RAWA spells out terms for support to Loya Jirga
By Our Reporter
ISLAMABAD, June 10: The Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) would support those members of the Loya Jirga who will confirm their loyalty to democracy and the wishes of the people by taking a staunch stand against all the Jihadi and Talibans.
In a press statement issued on Monday the RAWA said people's disappointment with the Loya Jirga could be better assessed when its results are seen.It has reiterated that unless fundamentalism is eliminated from the government and all its departments, no development, no institutions and no decisions will be untainted.
Despite all this, some are of the opinion that the participation of democratic and anti-fundamentalist forces was still possible.
The RAWA criticised the composition of the Loya Jirga commission which is in itself unfair and questionable.
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