Reflection of RAWA event in the Press
Speakers accuse Pakistan of meddling in Afghan affairs
The News International, March 20, 2001
PESHAWAR: Afghan and Pakistani speakers at a function here on Monday held the neighboring countries of Afghanistan responsible for the destruction of the country, strengthening fundamentalists and unending plight of the Afghan nation.
The function was organized by the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) which besides the Afghans was addressed by ANP provincial president, Begum Nasim Wali Khan, HRCP's chairperson, Afrasiyab Khattak, Afzal Khamosh, Haji Adeel and Sardar Sabir Kashmiri. The RAWA organizers were able to assemble a sizeable number of its activists at the spacious Green's Shadi Hall despite the fact that venue was arranged in haste after the Frontier government refused to allow the association to hold the function at Nishtar Hall, Peshawar.
"The role of Pakistan in the destruction of Afghanistan is unmatched. Pakistan saw the human factor to welcome the refugees on its soil when it indulged in the destruction of Afghanistan but the same country is now closing its borders for the same uprooted people," said Begum Nasim Wali Khan. She also condemned Taliban for imposing their version of Islam on devising policies which earned bad name to Islam and the Muslim ummah. "This is cruelty and the worst kind of oppression of the Afghan nation in the guise of Islam," she said.
Begum Nasim announced full support to RAWA and all those Afghan organizations struggling against tyrannies and oppression on behalf of her party. It was also for the first time that the ANP leadership decided to participate in RAWA's function. "We support RAWA's struggle against Taliban's oppressive policies. Taliban have sold out the history and national pride of Afghanistan in the guise of religion," she said. Begum Nasim said that Taliban were restricting the movement of women and have deprived half of the Afghan population from acquiring education in the 21st century.
Afrasiyab Khattak, who spent several years in self-exile in Afghanistan, said that all the neighboring countries of Afghanistan were actively involved in hatching conspiracies to install a puppet regime on the people of this historic country. "We believe that whatever is happening in Afghanistan today is done from outside. Every neighbor of that unfortunate country wants to install a puppet government there," Khattak said. It was witnessed that almost all the speakers, both the Afghans and Pakistani, spoke in a very charged and emotional tone. Many were seen in tears as the Afghan children and speakers painted a grim picture of life in Afghanistan.
"The governor of this province can only stop the inflow of fresh refugees into Pakistan provided the supply of weapons is halted from this side of the border," said Afrasiyab Khattak. The HRCP chairperson said that Pakistan government was fully responsible for the destruction of the Buddha statues as the decision to this effect has been taken here. "Restrictions on the entry of fresh Afghan refugees are unjustified and immoral," he said and added that peace in Afghanistan and restoration of democracy were inter-linked and the two can not be separated from each other.
RAWA's spokesperson, Saima Karim said that the warring factions in Afghanistan were trying to deceive the masses in the name of religion and ethnicity aimed at justifying their cruelties. "Neither Taliban represent the Pushtuns no Rabbani, Masud and others are the representatives of Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks. They are cruel killers of the Afghan people and war mongers only" she said.
A skit presented by the Afghan girls hiding school books under the rags, while sensing Taliban presence and finally two of the religious policemen storming the premises in violation of the sanctity of the house, received a big applause. One of the policemen was speaking Punjabi and Urdu and at times he spoke in broken Pushto to reveal Pakistan's involvement in Afghanistan and its influence over the Taliban. As it happens in dramas and films only, the skit ends up with the beating up of the Taliban soldier by the young school girls.
A specially designed painting by renowned cartoonist, Feica about the plight of women at the refugee camps in Pakistan was put for display on the stage. "Don't destroy the history. We want education, peace, complete independence and no arms," was the message of Feica's work. Feica spent two days at the Jallozai refugee camp to prepare the painting for the occasion. The young activist of RAWA, Marina also won applauds from the participants for the emotional speech in fluent Urdu.
Begum Nasim holds Pakistan responsible for Afghan's miseries
The Statesman, March 20, 2001
By Zakir Hassain
PESHAWAR: Begum Nasim Wali Khan, provincial ANP chief Monday held Pakistan responsible for reducing Afghanistan to rubble. Addressing an International Women's Day function organized by the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) at a hotel here, she said that Afghanistan was once a beautiful country where peace, love, rule of law and amity among ethnic minorities reigned supreme but today it was immensely bleeding and there was no one to heal its wounds.
She said whatever was happening there was the doing of Pakistan. Taliban were committing atrocities, particularly against innocent women in the name of religion, brining bad name to Islam. Nasim, also the provincial ARD president, said the Taliban were humiliating the womenfolk and Pakistan had a hand in it.
She alleged that Taliban had done away with the Afghan heritage, Pakhtun culture and traditions. She condemned the massacre of over 300 innocent Afghan people in Yakawlang, Bamyan. She said the devastation in Afghanistan could very likely spill over into Pakistan and then there would be no end to it.
She assured Afghans of her party's total support, saying they were not refugees, Pakistan was their home.
Speaking on the occasion, Afrasiab Khattak, chairman, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said the neighboring countries, specifically Pakistan, Iran and Russia, were interfering in Afghanistan. Unless they stopped their interference, peace could not be restored to that war-ravaged country.
He said the Taliban destroyed the Buddha statues at the behest of Pakistan for certain reasons. It was strange that instead of sending the foreign minister, Pakistan sent its home minister to Afghanistan.
Afrasiab was of the opinion that the government should provide alternate camps before rejecting nearly 100,000 refugees. He criticized the local administration for not allowing RAWA to hold its function in the Nishtar Hall on March 8.
Haji Mohammad Adeel, centeral ANP information secretary, condemned the Yakawlang massacre. He said the Taliban had deprived women of education and whatever was happinening in Afghanistan was not jihad.
Saima Karim, a RAWA member, denounced the Yakawlang massacre, terming it a great tragedy. She said the main reason for the destruction of Bhuddist relics was to pressurize the world to recognize the Taliban government. She asked Pakistan to stop its military and monetary support to the Taliban.
The organizers said the aim of the function was to apprise the world of excesses committed against people particularly women in Afghanistan. Books, magazines, posters and pamphlets depicting Afghan culture and the existing situation were displayed.
RAWA vows to struggle against extremism
Khyber Mail, March 20, 2001
By Khalid Khan Kheshgi
Peshawar: Abusing extremist groups fighting in Afghanistan, speakers at a function organized by the RAWA Monday said that these factions had usurped human rights, destroyed heritage, mutilated national identity, deprived women of education, massacred thousands of innocent people and above all presented Islam to the world as a fundamentalist and terrorist religion.
The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan held a public function in wake of International Women's Day here which was addressed by Begum Naseem Wali Khan, provincial president of ANP and ARD, Afrasiab Khan Khattak, chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Afzal Khamoosh, chief of Mazdoor Kisan Party, Raja Lateef Tahir, leader of JKLF and RAWA leaders.
Begum Naseem Wali said the Taliban militia did no service to Islam by destroying Buddha's statues and other heritages in Afghanistan but provoked and created hatred among the followers of other religions against Islam. She said the world community now consider both Afghans and Muslims as fundamentalists and terrorists nation due to the wrong policies of Mula Omar.
She said that the warring groups in Afghanistan have caused huge losses to Afghan people rather multiplied their miseries. She blamed Pakistan for plunging Afghanistan into the present quagmire, adding that after fulfilling its vested designs the government of Pakistan now forcefully expelling Afghan refugees from the country and harassing them. Condemning human rights violation in Afghanistan, Begum Naseem questioned that how can one expect the restoration of fundamental rights from such wild and illiterate people ruling in Afghanistan. She feared that if the on going infighting in Afghanistan was not stopped then it might be extended also to Pakistan. "We never consider Afghans as an alien nation at the land of Pakhtuns," she added. She appreciated the efforts of RAWA and extended her full cooperation to them.
Afrasiab Khattak said whatever happening in Afghanistan is the result of tug of war among the neighboring countries, including Pakistan, Iran and Russia. "These are the countries which are supplying weapons and other resources to the warring faction in Afghanistan," he added. He said the recent destruction of statues in Bamyan was made under the direction of Pakistan, adding that the visit of Pakistan Interior Minister to Afghanistan exposed this conspiracy.
He condemned the current human rights violation in Afghanistan and said the HRCP would voice its concern until and unless peace and stability in Afghanistan could not assured, foreign hands in the affairs of Afghanistan not stopped. He also regretted Pakistan's government decision to oust Afghan refugees from the camps forcefully and arrest of Afghan people.
The RAWA leaders, speaking on the occasion, condemned the Yakawlang massacre at the hands of Taliban and the destruction of the historic statues of Afghanistan. They also expressed their concern over the plight of thousands of Afghan displaced persons both inside and outside Afghanistan.
They said that role of United Nations in this connection is not satisfactory, adding that it should work for the lasting peace in Afghanistan.
The organizers of the function claimed that about 1500 Afghan participated mostly hailing from Peshawar. The hall was decorated with banners inscribed with anti-Taliban slogans and sketches depicting the brutalities of fundamentalist forces in Afghanistan "conscious women celebrate international women day with the resolve to intensify their struggle against fundamentalists of all hues and colors and their masters," stated one banner.
The messages being sent by various national and international organizations were also read out on the occasion. Young Afghan girls sang national songs and a play was also presented at the end of the function.
[Home Page] [Photos 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]