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Reflection of RAWA event in Press
March 8, 2000 - Peshawar

HRCP calls for curbs on arms, aid to Afghan factions

The News International, March 9, 2000

Behroz Khan

PESHAWAR: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Wednesday called upon all the neighboring countries to stop supply of arms and financial assistance to warring factions in Afghanistan to ensure durable peace in the region.

"The war in Afghanistan will continue till its neighbours including Pakistan, Iran, Russia and others stop supply of arms and money to the warring factions," said HRCP chairperson, Afrasiab Khattak while addressing a function here organized by Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan in connection with March 8, the International Women's Day. The HRCP chief said Afghanistan has been converted into a huge prison where rights of the people were continuously been trampled due to the interference of the neighbouring countries.

"We ask Pakistan government to take steps aimed at discoursing the supply of weapons. We also call upon the world community to bring the killers of the Afghan people and violators of human rights to justice," said the HRCP chairperson.

Khattak also demanded that 33 percent seats in the assemblies be reserved for women in the next general election. He said it would be an achievement to secure even 33 percent of seats despite the fact that women make more than 50 percent of the country's population.

UN Rapporteur, Asma Jehangir, who was specially invited to the function by RAWA activists, appreciated the organization for celebrating the women's day and announced that the HRCP would observe March 8, 2001 as the solidarity day with the Afghan women.

Criticizing Taliban rulers for forcing women to wear "burqa", she said that her organization would not surrender to any state terrorism. "We will not allow Talibanisation of Pakistan. A hangman can be called hangman only, be that Taliban in Afghanistan or the Jehadi groups in Pakistan," said Asma Jehangir.

Holding both the Taliban and Ahmad Shah Masood responsible for the plight of the Afghan women and destruction of the country, RAWA's spokeswoman Saima Karim called upon the Chief Executive, Gen. Pervez Musharraf to cancel his proposed trip to Afghanistan which she thought would further encourage fundamentalist forces to bring more miseries to the people. "We are concerned about the efforts by the UN and other states to bring the warring factions to negotiation table and consider it a dishonesty with the people of Afghanistan because it will perpetuate their rule," said Siama Karim.

She demanded that like Kosovo and East Timor, UN should also send its troops to Afghanistan to rescue the people and suggested that the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan must join hands against fundamentalism. Saima karim also demanded imposition of economic sanctions against those countries involved in the supply of arms and other assistance to Afghan groups to effectively stop the ongoing war and enable the people to decide about their future on their own.

Chief of Tehrik-i-Istiqlal, Muhammad Asghar Khan criticized that those totally ignorant of Islamic teaching were out to usurp the rights of women in the name of religion.

He asked the government to provide full opportunities to women to get education and involved them in the development of the country. Afghan children recited patriotic songs in Urdu, Pashto and Dari. A picture exhibition about the destruction of war in Afghanistan was also arranged at Nishtar Hall.

A prominent feature of the International Women's Day on Wednesday remained functions by the Afghan women's organizations. Main event of the day was the meeting of Revolutionary Association of the women of (RAWA) at the Peshawar's Nishter Hall, with Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) former chairperson and UN reporteur Asma Jehangir was the chief guest.

HR activists slam violence against Afghan women

The Nation, March 9, 2000

From Shamim Shahid

PESHAWAR- A number of leading political figures and human rightists have denounced the increasing violence against women in war-devastated Afghanistan and demanded of the global community in general and neighboring countries in particular to play their due role for return of peace and stability in that country.

They include Tehrik-e-Istiqlal Chief Air Marshal (Retd) Mohammad Asghar Khan, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan founding chairperson Asma Jehangir and sitting chairperson Afrasiab Khattak, Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party chief Afzal Shah Khamoosh and others. The RAWA gathering in the connection with Universal Women Day was largely attended by war-affected women and men, who had left their motherland due to in-fighting.

Besides listening to brief but comprehensive speeches of the host and guest speakers, the participants also witnessed a number of sketches. While the schoolgoing students through songs prayed for the early return of peace and tranquility in their motherland. Inside the Nishtar Hall, the RAWA had pasted placards and banners, in scribed with slogans against hard liners, increasing interferences in affairs of Afghanistan.

Asma Jahangir of HRCP in her address said the people of Afghanistan couldn't disassociate from each others as they are facing similar situation. Elaborating her point of view, the HRCP founding member said that those who had deprived Afghan women and men of their most democratic rights are being patronized in Pakistan.

"We consider them as terrorists," she remarked and added that such people had failed to press. She also declared that like-minded people from both the countries are also determined to join hands with each other against extremist, which is a serious threat to the future of humanity. She added the religion teaches peace and brotherhood.

On this occasion, Asma Jahagir announced that HRCP will observe the Universal Day in 2001 on the name of Afghan women. The participants welcomed her announcement. Tahrik Istiqlal Chief Mohammad Asgar Khan in his address while expressing concern over continue bloodshed and destruction in Afghanistan, reminded that since long they have been demanding a negotiated solution to this issue. He alleged that besides other countries and forces Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia are involved in naked interference in the affairs of Afghanistan.

Mohammad Asgar Khan appreciated RAWA and its stalwarts efforts for highlighting miseries of the war-affected people of Afghanistan. He in this connection, assured RAWA of his party's whole-hearted support.

The HRCP sitting chairperson Afrasiab Khattak in his address while expressing pleasure over activities of RAWA and its like-minded supporters, said that no one could press thinkings. Explaining his views, he recalled that in the last two decades a large number of democratic and intellectuals had been shot dead.

Afzal Khamoosh of Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party in his address also denounced the foreign countries and forces. He added that as a result of uncertain situation of Afghanistan unrest was increasing day by day in all over the region, therefore, the regional countries should revise their negative policies.

Asma stands up for Afghan women


KMI Report

Peshawar: The governance of Taliban has no linkage with Islam, and Pakistani women are not ready to stand the treatment their Afghan sisters are suffering at the hands of Taliban. This view was held forth by Asma Jehangir speaking at meeting organized by Revolutionary Afghan Women's Association (RAWA) at Nishtar Hall here on Wednesday.

Asma slated what she saw as two-facedness of the governament of Pakistan in announcing packages for women uplifting on the one hand, and cooperating with Taliban in Afghanistan on the other. She also slammed the politicians for opposing any Taliban-like system in Pakistan in private meetings, but keeping up their support of the Afghan governament in public.

Asma Jehangir apologized RAWA for the initial failure of Pakistani human rights and women's organizations to support of their cause. Things would not have gone so bad had Pakistani groups stood up for Afghan women, she maintained, and declared RAWA will be the guest of Pakistani human rights groups the entire next year.

Speaking on the occasion, chairman Pakistan Human Right Commission Afrasiab Khattack condemned the world powers for talking about trying former Chilean dictator General Pinochet, asking where were they when he was presiding over his region of terror. He said the ample attendance at the meeting testified that the authorities of Taliban governament does not extend to all Afghans.

He called upon the neighboring countries of Afghanistan to end their interference with the county's affairs, and demanded of the governament of Pakistan to sit aside 33% quota for women in the provincial and national assemblies.

Among others who spoken on the occasion were Saima Karim of RAWA and Air Marshall Asghar Khan.

[Home Page] [Photos of the function] [Report of the function]
Resolution of RAWA on March 8: [English] [Persian]
[Movie clips of the function]
[A number of solidarity messages to RAWA on International Women's Day]