RAWA function on International Women's Day
March 8, 2002 - Peshawar
Reflection in Pakistani media

RAWA seeks rights for women

Dawn, March 9, 2002
Bureau Report

PESHAWAR, March 8: The Revolutionary Association of theWomen of Afghanistan (RAWA) has argued that their compatriot women have not been liberated.

Speaking at a International Women Day function, organized by the RAWA here at a wedding hall on Friday, speakers prom various political parties and social activists underlined the need for alleviating the miseries of Afghan women by empowering them in Afghanistan.

They also paid tribute to Meena, RAWA's founding chief, killed allegedly by the militants of Golbodin Hikmatyar in 1986 in Quetta. They said the RAWA did a lot for the emancipation of Afghan women in its shortest history.

Dr Sohaila, a former central leader of the People's Democratic Partyof Afghanistan (PDPA), a united front of the Parchamand Khalq factions of the Moscow-backed communist party, HajiAdeel of the Awami National Party, Fanoos Gujjar of the Pakistan Awami Party, Christina of the Women in Black International Association and RAWA leaders spoke on the social conditions of Afghan women, US military campaign in Afghanistan, terrorism, post-Taliban era, establishment of peace, role of neighbouring countries, Loya Jirga, Afghan reconstruction, Afghan constitution and the future Afghan state.

A spokesman for the RAWA said despite momentous changes their unhappy land was still far from enjoying freedom and liberty. "The women of the world celebrate International Women Day with spirit and enthusiasm, in Afghanistan women still don't feel safe enough to throw away their chains. There is still a wide chasm between us and the glorious future we have fixed our eyes, hearts and minds upon," she added.

She said the Taliban, Osama and other such leaders were creatures of my opic US policies and the Afghan resistance war against Soviet aggression. The successive US governments had supported the mand persistently turned a blind eye to the higher interests of Afghan people, she added.

"The RAWA, which has ever been marginalised and side lined by the successive US governments, has enjoyed immense moral support and the unbounded material generosity of thousands of American women, men and children," she said.

Commenting on the war on terrorism, she said: "We look upon the US military campaign in Afghanistan as a fracas between patron and the ex-proteges." The US had taken the Northern Alliance into service through wooing and arming certain infamous warlords, but one fundamentalist band, like Taliban and Al-Qaeda, could not be fought by siding with and supporting another like NA, she added.

No power, she said, except the Afghan people themselves could or would succour them against fundamentalism, and there was no precedent in the history wherein a foreign nation or nations who had themselves been patrons and abettors of agents had granted liberty to a nation held in thrill by those very agents.

She vehemently opposed any reconciliation with the criminals and suggested severe punishment for them. "If deployment of troops and military action against Al Qaeda is a just cause, prosecuting the bone-chilling crimes of Northern Alliance is the sine qua non for peace, democracy and justice in Afghanistan," she said.

RAWA calls for democratic system in Afghanistan

The Frontier Post, March 9, 2002
Shujaat Ali Khan

PESHAWAR: Speakers at a function, organised by Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) on the eve of International Women’s Day, held Taliban and Afghan Jehadi groups responsible for violation of women’s rights in Afghanistan and demanded early restoration of democracy in the war-ravaged country.

They termed Taliban, Osama Bin Laden and Jehadi leaders as agents of America and said that the Karazi’s interim government has been imposed which has no support in the Afghan community at all.

The Afghan and Pakistani nationals highlighted the status of present day woman and their rights by delivering thought-provoking speeches both in Persian and Pashto.

A 10-member women delegation from Italy, which supports RAWA in its activities also, participated in the function.

The Persian speakers from the RAWA platform said that many things have come to pass in Afghanistan, not the least of which is the fumigation of the Taliban pestilence and their al-Qaeda carriers, adding that despite all these momentous changes the Afghans are still lurking for freedom and liberty.

The female leader of RAWA dwelt at length about her organisations’ manifestation, saying that RAWA has consistently emphasized the fact that the Taliban, Osama and Co., and other fundamentalist bands in Afghanistan are creatures of myopic US policies vis-à-vis the Afghan war of resistance against Soviet aggression.

She added that as long as such Frankenstein monsters were useful for the pursuance of US policies, successive American governments supported them and persistently turned a blind eye to the higher interests of the people of Afghanistan and to the consequences of such support for freedom and democracy in our country and the region.

She continued that RAWA takes great pride in the fact that it persistently condemned this US policy and never caved in to pressure nor “circumspection” not to the lure political or financial opportunism.

It is the conscience of the people of the US that is scourged first and foremost by the slaughter of innocent Afghans in consequence of the US led bombardment in Afghanistan since October 7, last year.

Dr. Sohaila Naseem, former member of the People Democratic Party (PDP) of Afghanistan in her massage on the day said women has been treated not as human beings but as salves.

Everywhere in the world women are faced with various problems and deprived of their basic rights as every community are making cruelties on them.

But in spite of all this women are still struggling for their due right and right of freedom.

Dr. Naseem refereed that the world knows that what is happening with women especially in Palestine, Kashmir and in Afghanistan.

In all these places they are treating as subject and nothing else.

In Afghanistan the Taliban and Jehadi organization are guilty of the worst condition of women, she added.

The PDP former members said that the Taliban period of ruler ship was one of the worst examples where women were even assaulted and were beaten with sticks.

Their rights of human beings was destroyed and were forced to be in the four walls while women are equal to men, she advocated.

Another RAWA member in her opinion said that the Taliban and jehadi organizations have made lot of cruelties on the Afghan women on the name of religion.

Religion has been much exploited in Afghanistan because of all these fundamentalists.

She informed that non of the group in Afghanistan is sincere for an establish democratic government.

Their leaders never talked for peace in the country and all are lacking unity amongst each other.

So, having no unity in their ranks how could they bring peace and stability to the country.

All they have one aim how to earn dollars and how to make happy their masters.

She in her views said that RAWA look upon the US military campaign in Afghanistan not as an aggression against Afghanistan or a war on the Afghan people, or as an aggression against Islam or the Muslim but as a fracas between patron and ex-proteges.

In contradistinction to some mealy mounted, colluding women’s organization, the total obliteration not only of the Taliban and their Al-Qaeda props but also of the criminal jehadis is a top RAWA political priority.

The bloodshed and misery visited upon our innocent fundamentalism-scourged people, the euphemistically called “ collateral damage” in consequence of the US punishment meted out to its rebellious former agents can not but incite out opposition to America’s war in Afghanistan.

Stressing for a democratic government in Afghanistan where she said secularism is a must, the RAWA member She said that the murder of Afghanistan’s aviation minister, Abdur Rehman is a not too subtle hint to the ex king Zahir Shah, Hamid Karzai and his friends, it is a small glimpse of the intrigues and infamies the most depraved enemies of our people Karzaihas around him are capable of in order to protect their criminal interests.

The RAWA in its statement circulated in the hall said that “ Karzai: it may be that the Afghan people will forbear from naming you a second Shah Shuja or a second Babrak Karmal because you “ Karzai” were placed in the position you are in exigency circumstance and as an alternative to murderers of the kind of Gulbaddin Hekmatyar, Sayyaf, Khalili and their ilk; but they will not forgive the indefinite continuation of your spineless leniency, or your concurrence with jihadi cutthroats- a concurrence that will ultimately stand you in no good stead.

The litmus test of your or any other Afghan leader’s worth, competence and honesty is your political conduct towards fundamentalists and their foreign masters, and your fidelity to the principal of democracy”.

Cristina, head of the Italian delegation assured RAWA for all kind of support in its activities.

The PAP leader Fanoos Gujar said that the US will never kill any top Taliban leader and Osama and will protest them till its nefarious desires achieved.

He termed the Karzai government as US- party in Afghanistan which will further materialize the America’s aims.

He demanded of the government to take back all the provided facilities been given to the US forces including airfields.

Support the Afghan nation in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and restoration of peace.

Afzal Khamoosh, head of the Mazdoor Kisan Party and Naeem Sarfraz, Director of Fazaldad Human Rights Institute Islamabad also spoke on the occasion.

Both assured RAWA for supporting in its struggles for rights of women.

Women's Role in Decision Making Urged

The New international, March 9, 2002
Bureau Report

The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) organized a function to observe international Women's Day. Besides Afghans and Pakistani women, politician and NGO workers and a thirteen member women delegation of Italian organization also attended the event. Afghan singers Baryalee Wali, Abdur Rab and others thrilled the participants with Afghan national songs. The RAWA activists staged a drama, exposing human rights and some members of the Afghan interim government.

Leader of the Italian delegation, Christina said that representative of Italian women organization were here to support women's group working for democracy and protection of human rights. "We are happy to be here with you on the first International Women's Day after the fall of Taliban regime," she added.

RAWA spokeswomen Shakiba said that reigns of power in Afghanistan were still in the hands of fundamentalists who were not ready to give Afghan women their due rights.

Suhaila Nasim, president of the Pakistan Awami Party Fanoos Gujar, leader of the Mazdoor Kisan Party Afzal Khamosh. Naeem Sarfraz of the Fazaldad Human Rights Institute also addressed the gathering.

RAWA for 'real' freedom for Afghan women

The Statesman, March 9, 2002
Statesman Report

PESHAWAR: The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan has issued a statement on the International Women's Day demanding real freedom for the Afghan women and a true democratic government in the country.

The statement reiterates principled position on key issues to respond to numerous queries posed by RAWA supporters inside Afghanistan and abroad.

The statement said: "Women in Afghanistan have not been liberated, thus liberating them in real sense, deployment of international troops comprising neutral countries to ensure peace in the country, end of neighboring countries interference in Afghanistan. Surety of the just use of billions of dollars pouring in country for its rehabilitation, holding of a loya Jirga free of the fundamentalists elements could help Afghanistan steer out of the present situation and make the women folk feel free."

What disheartens Revolutionary Afghan women

The Nation, March 9, 2002

PESHAWAR- The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, despite its support to the war against terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan and the interim government in Kabul, has said that fanatics and hard-liners were created by the United States and the new Kabul administration needs to revise its policies.

Mr Karzai, who does not have the backing and support of any indigenous organization or armed force, together with a number of his like-minded colleagues, are hostages in the hands of the Northern Alliance, said the RAWA resolution adopted at a well-attended meeting held in connection with the Universal Women Day here.

Ever since it's coming into being in mid-70s, RAWA has highlighted miseries of the war-affected women, besides reaffirming its firm stance against terrorism, extremism and Jehadi trend. But this time, it has provided maximum opportunities to its members and supporters to enjoy light music concerts whereas the singers have converted such miseries into rhythm. Along with hundreds of women and girls, a reasonable number of Western and European ladies attended the function and demonstrated sympathies and solidarity with RAWA in its struggle for establishment of a pure democratic administration based on secularism in war-stricken Afghanistan.

The RAWA function was addressed by a number of Pakistani and Afghan politicians and humanists. Among them were RAWA's Saima Karim, Gulali, Marina and Mohtarama Sahar, a representative of Italy-based Women International Association, Awami National Party's Haji Mohammad Adeel. Secretary General of Pakistan Mazdoor Kisan Party Afzal Khamoosh and Pakistan Awami Party president Fanoos Gujar, Baryali Wali, Abdul Rab son of the late legendary Afghan singer Sarban and Sarood Group, with their anthems and songs, reflected the wishes and expectations of the Afghans --return of peace and tranquility to and reconstruction of their motherland.

The RAWA resolution emphasized the fact that the Taliban, Osama and other fundamentalist bands in Afghanistan were outcome of the myopic US policies vis-à-vis the Afghan war of resistance against the former Soviet aggression. "As long as such Frankenstein monsters were useful for the pursuance of US policies, successive US governments supported them and persistently turned a blind eye to the higher interests of the people of Afghanistan, and to the consequence of such support for freedom and democracy in our country and the region. RAWA takes great pride in the fact that we persistently condemned this US policy and never caved in to pressure nor circumspection, nor to the lure political or financial opportunism," the declaration said.

The declaration continued: "We look upon the American nation as a great people who have made immense contributions to human civilization, social and scientific progress. It is the conscience of the people of the US that is scourged first and foremost by the slaughter of innocent Afghans in consequence of the US bombardment in Afghanistan. Proof of this is amply shown in demonstration against the war in Afghanistan in most American cities. RAWA has been inundated by thousands of emails from across the US expressing sympathy with our people and condemning the US' bombardment, which claim innocent victims.

Visits to Afghanistan by groups of bereaved Americans, who have lost dear ones in the September 11 tragedy, to sympathies and commiserate with the victims of bombardments is a shining example of the humanism and love of peace typical of the people the United States. Such gestures will never be forgotten by the people of Afghanistan. The tears of anguish of thousands of mourning Americans and grieving Afghans will give rise to a fountain of love and sincere bounding of the people of the two countries. We take greater pride in the fact that our organization ever marginalized and sidelined by successive US administration and US government institutions, has enjoyed immense moral support and the unbounded material generosity of thousands of America men, women and children. The implementation of many of our diverse projects would not have been possible without such generous American aid."

The RAWA reaffirmed to strive and resist the trend of extremism and fanatism not only in Afghanistan but also all over the world.

Referring to situation following the fall of the Taliban, RAWA declared that with the exception of supporters of the former King, over three-fourths of the participants of Bonn Conference were representatives of the Northern Alliance and affiliates to the infamous terrorist organizations of Gulbadin Hekmatyar. It viewed that such couldn't ensure return of peace and tranquility in Afghanistan as the Northern Alliance and others are known for their involvement in "criminal and terrorist" acts.

It also expressed disappointment over (poor) representation to women in the existing set-up.

The RAWA demanded prosecution of all individuals who, during the past 23 years, committed high treason, war crimes, and blatant violations of human rights and plunder of national assets.

The speakers spoke on current situation of Afghanistan, and one of the Pakistani politicians said that "neither the US is sincere to Afghans nor to peace and stability but she is interested in safeguarding for own interests only".

He said that instead of expecting something from the United States, the Afghans need to forge unity in their ranks and must take steps for restoration of peace and a system in according to their own rich traditions.

Marching to a radical tune

The News on Sunday, March 10, 2002

The year 2001 has shown Pakistan various glimpses of an activist-led movement taking shape. In all of the new initiatives, women are taking the lead


But perhaps the biggest radical women movement in Pakistan is RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. RAWA has come out to be the staunch defenders of rights of both men and women for freedom and expression in Afghanistan throughout the last two decades. And their strength reflects from the hundreds of Pakistani and Afghani women who participate in their educational and protest campaigns. They are now in the forefront to show that despite the much-touted 'US-led freedom in Afghanistan' the reality is different.

On December 10, 2001 RAWA staged a demonstration in Peshawar to condemn suppression of women in Afghanistan marking the World Human Rights Day. Yet again the 'liberal' government stopped them from proceeding to attend a peaceful demonstration in Islamabad. Hundreds of RAWA workers and activists later gathered outside the Peshawar Press Club, where they staged a demonstration to condemn excesses against women in Afghanistan. RAWA has held numerous demonstrations in the past.

The report of the event was published in almost all Urdu and Pushto newspapers of Pakistan.

[Home Page] [Movie Clips] [Photos] [RAWA statement on IWD]