Dawn, Nov.4, 2001

UN role for democratic Afghan govt urged

By Our Staff Reporter

Asma Jehangir, Luisa Morgantini (member of European Parliament), Sahar Saba from RAWA and some members of Italian parliament in the press conference. RAWA photo

ISLAMABAD, Nov 3: Women activists from Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), European Union and Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) on Saturday demanded that the United Nations should play its pivotal role in the formation of post-Taliban government in Afghanistan through elections.

Speaking at a news conference here, HRCP national council member Asma Jehangir, European Parliament member Luisa Morgantini and Sahar Saba of Rawa called for the elimination of all fundamentalist groups without any exception or conditions, paving the way for free elections.

"We have gathered women activists to show to freedom-loving people, especially women of Afghanistan, that we are with them in these difficult conditions, and to declare our deep solidarity with them against fundamentalism and for freedom, development and democracy," they said.

The efforts for peace in Afghanistan should be based on the values of democracy, women's rights and free elections, they said.

They also wanted the Afghan women, especially those who struggled against fundamentalism, to be present at the negotiation table.

Ms Sahar said the Taliban government should not be replaced with warlords or the Northern Alliance as, she said they also criminal records.

She denounced the Taliban and the Northern Alliance and said her organization was against fundamentalism.

Ms Jehangir was of the view that the women of Afghanistan had been kept away from the mainstream for too long due to which they had suffered a lot and the time had come for them to be included in the peace process.

They said that the death of thousands of innocent people due to the event of Sept 11 in New York should not be answered with the killing of innocent and defenceless people of Afghanistan. There were many other ways to fight terrorism, they said.

Almost a month had passed since the US attacks begun and no major damage to Taliban or Al Qaeda could be seen, despite claims by the United States they said. Instead, the number of civilian casualties was increasing day by day, they deplored.

The people of Afghanistan, they said, wholeheartedly wanted the return of peace and freedom in their country. Therefore, it is necessary to put an end to all forms of fundamentalism both from the Taliban and the Northern Alliance.

They said they wanted peace for a nation which had faced brutalities and torture for more than two decades and experienced atrocities and savagery of different brands of fundamentalism. They said they wanted Afghan nation to decide its own future.

They said they wanted peace and stability for the more than four million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran, who were experiencing the most inhuman conditions in the refugee camps. Due to the recent crisis, their number was increasing making their unbearable condition even worse.

They said that the catastrophe of Afghan refugees was the largest one to which the world community should pay attention seriously, but this catastrophe would not end unless there was peace and stability in the country.

They expressed the belief that the elimination of fundamentalist terrorism would not be possible without amendment in the policies of West towards the Middle East. "We want peace and justice all over the world, and do not believe that war is a solution; war brings war, for this reason we ask for immediate stop to bombing," they implored.

From: http://www.dawn.com/2001/11/04/top17.htm

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