Join conference of Pakistan Afghanistan progressive forces

pak afghan joint conference

On June 23 and 24, 2013, the Third Conference of Pakistan-Afghanistan progressive forces was held in Kabul with joint efforts from the Awami Workers Party of Pakistan (AWP) and the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan (SPA) with support from the Left International Forum of Sweden - VIF (Vänsterns Internationella Forum). The international conference, hosted by SPA, was attended by 45 people from both countries who were representatives of parties, organizations, social bodies, human rights activists, and prominent figures fighting for justice.

The participants exchanged views on the main hindrances women face in political, economic, cultural and social spheres, and especially about the cruelties of the Islamic fundamentalists against women with support from their imperialist allies. Solutions and plans were suggested by both sides which were aimed at paving the ground for women to play prominent roles on different levels, especially in the leadership and decision-making committees of progressive parties.

On the first day of the conference, on behalf of SPA, Saman Baseer, thanked the guests for attending, saying, “Previously, two conferences were held between these parties in Lahore, Pakistan which helped both sides understand each other’s policies and increased cooperation between them. The aim of such meetings is to get a better understanding of each other’s work; discuss our experiences; reach a certain standpoint on important issues of the region and world; find common ground of practical cooperation between both parties; and discuss methods of fighting invasions and bullying, terrorism and fundamentalism, discuss violations of women’s rights and human rights, and many other catastrophes; so that we can defend the rights of the oppressed as one strong shield.”

Ann Margerethe
Ann Margerethe from VIF

Then Anne Margaret the representative of the Left International Forum of Sweden - VIF (Vänsterns Internationella Forum) congratulated the parties on the organization of the conference in the insecure situation of Kabul and wished them well, emphasized on the necessity of collaboration between, and joint struggle of the women in Afghanistan and Pakistan so they can rise as a strong force in their path of fighting for equality and women’s rights in the region.

She added:

“There are difference between the struggle of European women and eastern women. For example getting lower wages than men, misuse of women as a commodity or sexual object, being viewed as a subordinate in the society, not having an active role in leading the country, psychological harassment, killing women’s personalities, are a number of issues our women still face. Still, I know that the condition of Afghan and Pakistani women is far more terrible and they face more hardships. Important topics have been listed in the agenda of this two-day conference so we can critically discuss them and find practical solutions for freeing women from this disastrous situation.”

Next, Malalai Joya, the brave, anti-fundamentalist and anti-occupation female activist, unequivocally talked about the appalling condition of women, and crimes of the fundamentalist and ignorant parties in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

She said:

Malalai Joya
Malalai Joya

“In reality, the US is still heavily relying on Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan and the region for its strategic, economic, and military aims. We also witnessed how it armed and supported the most bloodthirsty Al-Qaeda gangs in Libya and Syria; has made an office under the name of ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’ for the savage Taliban; and has behind-the-scenes dealings with the cruel Akhundi regime of Iran which has been spreading the fundamentalism virus of Vilayate Faqih (Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists) in the region for the past thirty years. Islamic fundamentalism is still a reliable base and proxy for the US occupation in the region, even if they apparently have conflicts.”

“Therefore, in my opinion, the plague of religious fundamentalism and fascism is a serious danger in the path of the welfare of not only women, but the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and other Islamic countries, and a significant hindrance in the path of the advancement of progressive movements of the people. In Afghanistan and Pakistan in particular, the US and west, with the direct assistance of the military and intelligence bureau of Pakistan (ISI), have been busy cultivating ignorance and violence and nurturing ultra-reactionary forces for the past few decades.”

Hafeez Rasikh from SPA talked about the history of fundamentalism and terrorism, its connection with the US and west and the support it receives through the army and intelligence of Pakistan. He described how on the one hand, these fundamentalists are used as a weapon against the masses and especially women on the one hand; and how on the other hand this lethal disease is used as a threat, and an excuse for the permanent presence of foreign countries in the region, and construction of military bases in Afghanistan.

Niaz Khan from AWP

Niaz Khan, the representative of the Awami Workers Party of Pakistan (AWP) said:

“There are plenty of significant hardships women of Pakistan and Afghanistan face, but the biggest threat is fundamentalism and terrorism. The US colluded with Islamists for spreading medieval ideas and sought to foster religious schools. Suicide attacks in Pakistan and insecurity in Karachi are the main concerns of the people and narrows the chances for women’s activities. For the past 24 years, the army of Pakistan has had political power and the ultimate decision-making authority. In reality, there is no democracy and the US, England and ISI even play the determining role in our elections.”

Belquees Roshan, the elected representative of the people of Farah in the senate, said among other things:

“Twelve years after the US invasion under the bogus banner of supporting women’s rights, the condition of Afghan women is still miserable and their fate is decided by others. Official recognition of the misogynist Taliban is another treachery. A large number of female government officials and parliamentarians are not representatives of the people, and are themselves misogynists and ignorant, and the rest are scared of telling the truth, or easily collaborate (with the elements mentioned above).”

Belquis Roshan
Belquis Roshan

Dr. Taimur Rehman and Mahvash Waqar from the popular musical band of Laal from Pakistan also spoke about the support the US gives to fundamentalists and strongly rejected the views of Jameel Umar who believed that the US is not the enemy of Afghan women and has fought against fundamentalism after September 11th. Dr. Taimur cited examples from his own country, Syria, Iraq, Libya and other countries, with sound reasoning to describe how corrupt and reactionary governments continue their existence with assurance and support from the US.

Engineer Khaliq Nemat compared fundamentalism and terrorism to environmental pollution, saying the globalization of capital and growth of fundamentalism coincide with the interest of the US, and pose a serious danger to the rights of women. He said the illness of ignorance and misogyny knows no boundary and has spread everywhere from poor Asian countries to the US.

Weeda Ahmad, a women’s rights activist from Afghanistan and Ehsanullah Khan from Pakistan, talked about war victims, documentation of war crimes, and the history of the oppression and slave-like lives of women through slideshows, adding that the US had made the women of poor countries its project. Women from different countries have been living like servants and slaves for the past centuries, and have been misused by the powerful, especially in male-dominated societies.

Mahvash and Dr.Timor
Mahvash and Dr.Timor from "LAAL" band

Jameel Umar and Farooq Sulehria, activists of the Awami Workers Party of Pakistan (AWP), Engineer Nooria Haq Nagar member of the Freedom Seekers Party of Afghanistan, Professor Said Jalal a medicine teacher from Ningarhar, Masoud Hasanzada from the Morcha Band, and Engineer Basir representative of the Council of Pashayee Tribe, all discussed the creation of a repressive atmosphere by the fundamentalists and the killing and intimidation of activists by them, and also their traitorous role in the past four decades in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

On the second day, the participants shared their views on solutions, and suggestions on the systematic and practical unity, alignment and solidarity of progressive forces not just in Pakistan and Afghanistan but all the freedom fighting forces in the region, in separate workshops. They all concluded that although women have been enslaved throughout history, but in the past few decades with the empowerment of fundamentalism and terrorism by western powers, the level of violence and imprisonment of women has increased painfully. Male-dominance and ignorance in Afghanistan and Pakistan, presence of western invaders, medieval-minded Taliban, criminal Northern Alliance forces, and a client regime embedded with the fundamentalism virus in both countries, all form major limitations in the face of women’s freedom and the establishment of social justice. All the participants agreed on continuing such gatherings and actions, broadcasting publications, and making a common website, so that patriotic and democratic forces can join forces in exposing the ongoing crimes and also to work for the consciousness and mobilization of women and men.

Workshops

Representatives and spokesperson of the conference issued their joint resolution, reinforcing the point that struggling against religious fundamentalism and reactionary is futile and incomplete without struggling against imperialism.

Concert of Laal from Pakistan and Morcha from Afghanistan

The third day was set aside for a cultural program where the musical bands of Laal (Pakistan) and Morcha (Afghanistan) performed in a joint concert. The viewers enjoyed the critical and pleasant songs of Dr. Taimur Rehman, Mahvash Waqar and Masoud Hasanzada from the bands. The joint event of the justice-seeking artists of Afghanistan and Pakistan in an unforgettable evening, led a person to think that if progressive and freedom-loving elements and forces of both countries unite against their reactionary, corrupt and treacherous governments, they can undoubtedly play an important role in changing the situation of the region and freeing their countries from the monstrous claws of fundamentalism, ignorance, and colonization.

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