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Amnesty International condemns ill-treatment against RAWA members

Open Letter from RAWA to all Pro-democracy Groups and Individuals

On April 28th 1997, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) conducted demonstration in Islamabad to mark the 5th anniversary of the Black Days of 27th and 28th April and to condemn and expose different treacherous jehadi and Taliban bands. After the demonstrators had dispersed at the end of the exercise some people riding in automobiles assaulted a number of out technical collaborators and subjected them to violent interrogation steeped in outrageously abusive language. They subsequently took one of them away in an automobile to an unknown destination in Islamabad where they bound his hands and feet and severely beat him up in order to make him disclose the identities and addresses of RAWA spokespersons and to explain how RAWA dared to oppose the Taliban who were "heroes of Islam", etc. Our collaborator could not give them the information they sought, therefore after some hours of severe beating and intimidation he was released in a secluded patch in one of Islamabadís wooded areas. 

We believe that this abduction, which comes in line with threats issued against RAWA by the Taliban governmentís" head of religious police Mullah Rafeullah Muezzin, is a blatant violation of human rights and of the constitution of Pakistan. We therefore demand that the perpetrators of this barbaric deed be identified and prosecuted as miscreant agents of the Taliban and conspirators against RAWA, which is the only irreconcilable protagonist of democracy and the rights of the women of Afghanistan.

From the beginning up till now, RAWA has resolutely opposed the domination of such rogue bands, the stench of whose infamy and criminality nauseated decent human beings all over the world. The shameful doings of the Taliban and the savagery they have unleashed against women in particular are to heinous that they even make governments such as that Iran and Saudi Arabia blush with shame.

In the past, rejected and pariah political groupings in Pakistan demanded that RAWA desist from activity against Gulbodin Hekmatyar and other traitors jihadi leaders, or at least to adopt a "softer" line against them. Now that all these criminal gangs have exposed themselves as nothing more than blots of shame on the faces of their former mentors and sponsors, the latter have pinned their hopes on the Taliban. They forget, however that the hearts of the people of Afghanistan, like all other peoples of the world, beat for democracy, welfare and progress, and that the Afghan nation will never consent to putting the reins of their destiny in the hands of cretins who believe that schools are "gateways to hell"; radio receivers are "Satanís boxes" and TV sets are "Satanís mirrors"; who warn of blowing up our priceless historical heritage; who savagely and preposterously deprive women of the right to education and the right to work; and who even debar women from going to bath-houses in conditions where these are the sole and only facilities available for personal hygiene! The people of Afghanistan, notwithstanding their agony under traitors and fundamentalists of different hues and denominations, will never stoop so low as to allow their destiny to be shaped by creatures of such intellectual caliber as Taliban leaders who do not know whether the head of government of the United States is a king or a President, or, for that matter, what the different between the two might be!

The extent of the credit enjoyed with the people of Pakistan by the Talibanís Pakistani brothers who are organized in numerous religious parties has been very graphically shown in recent elections in Pakistan where they experienced a most unequivocal slap in the face. We therefore believe that no noble and freedom loving Pakistani can want a politico-religious clique of mercenaries a hundred times more anachronistic and more medieval than their own fossilized merchants of religion to rule in Afghanistan. We reiterate, as we have done so many times in the past, that Jihadi and Taliban religio-fascists have betrayed and denigrated Islam as much as, and even more than, what they have done to our people, our peopleís honor and dignity, our peopleís history and culture. And our peopleís very existence.

We firmly believe that no political force and individual in Pakistan or any other country in the world who respect the people of Afghanistan and wish them well can for a moment allow themselves to rise in defense of the Taliban, these professed and sworn enemies of learning, culture and women.

Under the present circumstances, the only criterion of sympathy and goodwill towards the mortified people of Afghanistan is not to threaten RAWA or any similar organization, but to consistently oppose, in words and deeds, force which have turned our country into a graveyard and which strive to roll back the inevitable wheel of history.

We shall not desist from struggle against the Taliban, their Jihadi brothers or warlords like Dostum until such time as there is a drop of blood in our bodies and until such time as our conscience is alive. Our leader and our fellow-fighters fell in the struggle against religious fascism. Their banner we shall intrepidly keep aloft to the very end. To the ultimate sacrifice. This is our promise to them, to ourselves and to our people.  
It behaves on the Government of Pakistan which lays claim to being faithful to the principles of democracy to rein in all those who are conspiring against RAWA and are seeking to gag its natural, human, inevitable and rightful cry for emancipation and womenís rights. Such conspirators are casting aspersion on the name of Pakistan. RAWA is observing the situation in this regard, and reserve the right to have recourse to any appropriate measure as needed.

We once again call upon all individuals and organizations who claim to espouse liberty and democracy and who are partisans of human rights and womenís rights to give voice to their support for RAWA and to bring home to conspirators against us that by backing the ultra-reactionary Taliban, who are playing with Islam, they can hope to reap no other reward but indelible shame on the people and country of Pakistan.

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