Pakistani women urged to show solidarity with Afghan women


Female members of Afghanistan’s ‘peace negotiation team’ visit IRS

Zubair Qureshi

Members of the Afghan government’s peace negotiating team Dr Habiba Sarabi and Ms Fatima Gailani have urged Pakistani women to stand up in solidarity with the women of Afghanistan in the crucial time of negotiation between the Taliban and the Government of Afghanistan.

They were speaking at a webinar on the role of women in the Afghan peace process organized by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) here on Thursday.

Dr Habiba Sarabi who is former Minister for Women’s Affairs emphasized the need for engaging and involving women in the future of Afghanistan.

She underscored the role played by the Constitution of Afghanistan in upholding women’s rights.

She especially referred to Article 22 of the Afghan Constitution that accords equal rights to men and women of Afghanistan.

She expressed her concern over the target killings of the members of the civil society in Afghanistan and added that if there would be a ceasefire in Afghanistan, such target killings would stop.

Dr Sarabi dismissed the argument that she only represented the views of the urban women of Afghanistan.

She was of the view that they were the voice of women from all over Afghanistan, including the areas under the control of the Taliban.

Fatima Gailani who is also President of the Afghan Red Crescent Society said in other countries peace was taken for granted but it was not the case in Afghanistan.

She added that peace did not only mean the absence of war but access to health, education, livelihoods, and security for all segments of the society.

Ms Gailani also emphasized the role of the Constitution of Afghanistan as the anchor for upholding their rights.

She underscored that the Afghan Constitution was an Islamic Constitution safeguarding the rights of everyone in light of Islamic teachings. Ms Gailani argued that the women were a reality of Afghanistan that could not be ignored.

She urged further investment in education of women, which, she maintained, was the dream of all the women of Afghanistan.

Executive Director of the Afghan Women’s Education Center (AWEC) Palwasha Hassan said that the inclusion of four women in the Afghan government’s peace negotiation team was evidence of the importance of women in Afghanistan.

She added, though, that Taliban delegation did not have any women representatives in their delegation.

Ms Hassan said that the regional aspect of peacebuilding was as important as the regional dimension of the conflict.

Therefore, she urged strong networking among the people of regional countries believing in peace.

She added that any form of solidarity shown by Pakistani women with the women of Afghanistan would go a long way in their struggle for safeguarding their rights.