Ex-Govt official decries Ashura’s omission from national calendar

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Former deputy head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Asadullah Sadati, criticised the elimination of Ashura day, which was on Monday, from the national calendar.

He said that the Hazara people want social justice.

Meanwhile, the deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sher Mohammad Abas Stanikzai, said that based on the policy of the Islamic Emirate, the followers of all types of religion in the country are free to celebrate their religious ceremonies.

“Based on the policy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, all Islamic section religions which are in Afghanistan, they are completely free to celebrate their religious days and no one will disturb them, even we have non-Islamic ethnic groups, they will also not be disturbed,” he said.

Ashura was celebrated through a special ceremony in Afghanistan, but this year’s celebration seemed subdued to onlookers.

Speaking at the Ashura ceremony in Kabul, some officials of the former government criticized the elimination of the Ashura Day from the national calendar. They said that the Hazara ethnicity is being excluded from the government. They also criticized the absence of Islamic Emirate officials from the ceremony.

“Ashura is no longer marked as a holiday in the Afghan calendar. I emphasized that it is necessary that the day of the martyr of the grandson of (Mohammad PBUH), the passenger of God and the biggest event of the Islamic history should be included as a holiday in the calendar of the country which has an Islamic government,” Sadati said.

“Our youth are covered with dirt and blood, but … no one can separate us from Hussein,” said Sijadi Balkhabi, a former provincial council member.

Participants also called for national unity and urged the Islamic Emirate to prevent ethnic and tribal discrimination in Afghanistan.

“There should be all-out efforts for the provision of security for the people. Today we are endangered and we are in a state of systematic genocide,” Sadati said.

Meanwhile, As the Day of Ashura approaches, citizens expressed concerns about security for the ceremonies to be held across Kabul and in the provinces, asking the Islamic Emirate to provide security.

Kabul residents said they are afraid of possible scenarios, especially after the recent incidents across the country.

“The situation is not looking good. They (government and security forces) should be serious about the security,” said Omratullah, a resident of Kabul.

“We are concerned that an incident may happen, so we are asking security forces to maintain security carefully,” said Madina, a Kabul resident.

Meanwhile, residents of Paktia also called on the government to provide security for mosques and Takya Khana (places where people hold ceremonies of mourning) during Moharram month.

“It feels more dangerous here. we call on the Islamic Emirate to cooperate with us on security,” said Haider Husseini, a tribal elder in Paktia.

Meanwhile, Kabul’s Security Command called for security on the day of Ashura, saying that a commission has been established for security on Ashura. “A commission has been established for security and we ask our Shiite countrymen to celebrate their ceremonies in Takiyeh Khana (specific places for mourning) and to not make disturbances for other people,” said Khalid Zadran, spokesman for the Kabul security department.

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