Sunday, May 12, 2019
عسکریت پسندوں کے حملے میں بچنے کے بعد امریکہ منقتل ہونے والے پشتو گلوکار سردار علی ٹکر کی سریلی آواز ایک مرتبہ پھر پاکستان میں گونجی ہے۔
1980 کی دہائی میں جنرل ضیاالحق کے دورہِ آمریت میں فنکاروں خصوصا گلوکاروں کے خلاف بدترین کریک ڈاؤن کے دوران بھی ایک پشتو گلوکار کی پشاور میں جمنے والی نجی محفلیں سامعین سے کھچا کھچ بھری رہتی تھیں۔
یہ گلوکار سردارعلی ٹکر تھے، جو رواں سال پشتو موسیقی کے لیے خدمات کے صلے میں حکومت کا سب سے اعلیٰ سول ایوارڈ ’تمغہ امتیاز‘ وصول کرنے طویل عرصہ بعد پاکستان آئے۔
تقریبا ایک دہائی قبل ٹکر اور ان کا خاندان عسکریت پسندوں کے ایک حملے کے بعد کینیڈا اور پھر امریکہ ہجرت کر گئے تھے۔ 2009 میں اسلام آباد میں ہونے والے اِس حملے میں ان کی ایک بیٹی زخمی ہوئی تھی۔
اس حوالے سے عرب نیوز کو دیے گئے ایک انٹرویو میں سردار علی ٹکر کا کہنا تھا کہ اُن نامساعد حالات میں ہجرت کر جانا ہی درست فیصلہ تھا۔
’جب میں خود سے پوچھتا ہوں کہ اگر میرے خاندان کے کسی ایک فرد کے ساتھ کچھ برا ہو جاتا تو وہ مجھ سے سوال کرنے میں حق بجانب ہوتے کہ میں نے ان کو دہشت گردوں کے رحم و کرم پر کیوں چھوڑ دیا تھا۔‘
پاکستان کے ایک معتبر انگریزی اخبار ’دی نیوز‘ میں چھپنے والی رپورٹ کے مطابق 2008 سے 2017 کے دوران مقامی طالبان عسکریت پسندوں نے کم از کم 13 نمایاں فنکاروں کو، جن میں اکثریت پشتون خواتین گلوکاروں کی تھی، بے دردی سے قتل کیا۔
ان فنکاروں میں سے بیشتر کو پشاور یا اس کے قریبی علاقوں میں ہلاک کیا گیا تھا۔ یہ وہ دور تھا جب پاکستان بدترین شورش کا شکار تھا۔
2016 میں عسکریت پسندوں نے معروف قوال امجد صابری کو کراچی میں ٹارگٹ کلنگ کا نشانہ بنایا، سردارعلی ٹکر بھی صابری کی طرح صوفیئزم کا پرچار کرتے ہیں جو اسلام کا ایک معتدل چہرہ ہے لیکن طالبان اس کے سخت مخالف ہیں۔
انہی حالات سے دلبرداشتہ ہو کر سردارعلی اپنی بیوی اور تین بچوں کے ساتھ 2010 میں کینیڈا چلے گئے ۔
جلد ہی اس معروف پشتو گلوکار کی امریکی درالحکومت واشنگٹن میں آمد کی خبریں پھیل گئیں، جہاں امریکی نشریاتی ادارے ’وائس آف امریکہ‘ کے دیوا ریڈیو نے ان کو ملازمت کی پیشکش کی اور اب ٹکر ایک ریڈیو پروگرام کی میزبانی کرتے ہوئے پشتو موسیقی، برداشت اور صوفیئزم کی ترویج کرتے ہیں۔
ان کے اکثر مداحوں کا تعلق پاک ۔افغان سرحد کے دونوں جانب آباد پشتون علاقوں سے ہے، جہاں وہ انٹرنیٹ پر سردار علی کا پروگرام شوق سے سنتے ہیں۔
مردان کے روایتی حجرے میں دیے گئے انٹرویو میں 62 سالہ ٹکر نے امام غزالی کے مشہور قول کا حوالہ دیتے ہوئے کہا ’موسیقی دلوں کی سختی دور کرتی ہے‘۔
انہوں نے مسکراتے ہوئے بتایا کہ افغانستان کے اندر طالبان دور میں موسیقی کو غیر قانونی سمجھا جاتا تھا لیکن پھر بھی طالبان ان کی مرتب کردہ دھنوں پر روائتی اٹن رقص کرتے تھے۔
دلچسپ بات یہ ہے کہ سردار علی مکینیکل انجینیئر ہیں۔ انہوں نے موسیقی کو بطور مشغلہ شروع کیا تھا اور ان کی موسیقی کی تخلیقات جنرل ضیا الحق کے دور میں ہی منظرعام پر آئیں جن میں ان کی مشہور غزل ’گلہ مے زکہ اوکڑا‘ اپنے وقت کے بہترین شاہکاروں میں سے ایک تھی۔
سردار علی نے زیادہ تر 20ویں صدی کے معروف پشتو فلسفی شاعر خان عبدالغنی خان کا کلام گایا ہے جنہوں نے شاعری کے ذریعے مذہب میں شدت پسندی کی مخالفت کی۔
سردار علی ٹکر نے امریکہ واپسی تک مردان کے جس حجرے میں قیام کیا، وہاں سینکڑوں نوجوانوں کا رش لگا رہتا تھا جو ان کے گانوں اور ریڈیو پروگرام کے پرستار تھے۔
ٹکر نے فخریہ کہا: ’دیکھو مجھ سے ملنے والے کون ہیں، یہ وہ نوجوان ہیں جن کی عمریں 30 سال سے بھی کم ہیں‘۔
سردار علی نے اپنے مہمانوں سے جذباتی خطاب میں کہا کہ وہ ماضی کو دفن کر کے فن اور ثقافت کو ایک اور موقع دیں۔ پھر انہوں نے اپنی مشہورغزل گائی اور ان کی آواز اس دھرتی پر ایک بار پھر گونجی جیسے
انہوں نے دس برس قبل چھوڑ دیا تھا۔
Rahimullah YusufzaiA complex conglomeration of factors has resulted in the recent rise in small and large scale terrorist attacks across the country.
new wave of terrorism has hit Pakistan as attacks have recently taken place in three provinces including Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
By Ron Synovitz
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has refused to put a bill to a parliamentary vote that would prohibit violence against women -- despite years of domestic and international focus on the legislation.Khalida Khorsand, a 35-year-old rights activist from the western Afghan city of Herat, is skeptical about Taliban claims that it has dispensed with its strict rules against girls' education and women working.
The militant Islamic group made the declaration in the midst of recent peace talks with U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad aimed at bringing an end to the long U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.
But Khorsand still remembers the notorious repressions under Taliban rule as a teenager in the western city of Herat when she risked the death penalty to study literature in a class disguised as a women's sewing group.
"After nearly 18 years without the Taliban in power, we now see that the Taliban are coming back in Afghanistan and there haven't been big changes for women's lives -- especially in rural areas," says Khorsand, who has dedicated much of her life since 2001 to advancing women's rights in western Afghanistan.
Even without the Taliban in power in Herat, Khorsand says, many hard-fought gains for women since the collapse of the Taliban regime already are under threat.She attributes that situation to what she calls "a Taliban way of thinking" by many Afghans and a proliferation of unregistered religious schools in Herat teaching "radical Islam" to as many as 50,000 young people.If the Taliban gets a role in the Afghan government as part of a peace deal, as Khorsand expects, she fears a floodgate will be opened for resurgent "radical Islamists" in Herat."I don't know why this has been allowed to happen under the current government of Afghanistan since 2014," Khorsand laments. "They are not paying attention to the rise of fundamentalists and radical groups in Herat.
"Now the city has become a safe haven for the radical groups that support the ideology of the Taliban," Khorsand says. "The fundamentalist groups in Herat are very organized and have a lot of money. They take the young people into madrasahs and teach to them the principles of the Taliban, and they are having an enormous impact on the young generation."
Those groups already have gained backing from municipal authorities for an unofficial ban on live musical performances in Herat and for a ban on celebrating Valentine's Day -- with both practices being declared "unIslamic."
In rural areas of Herat Province, where Khorsand worked for years to help women who are victims of domestic violence, Khorsand says she has seen disturbing signs of support for the punishments doled out by the Taliban under its strict enforcement of Islamic Shari'a law -- amputating the hands of thieves, publicly flogging people for drinking alcohol, and stoning to death those who engage in adultery.
Students at Herat's madrasahs deny being radical Islamists. But they also support a return to the prohibitions and punishments of the Taliban era."Allah says cut off the hands of a male thief and a female thief," says Jan Agha Jami, a 21-year-old at the Fakhr al-Madares madrasah in Herat. "When men and women commit adultery, whip them if they are single. If they are married, they should be stoned, and the Koran's rulings should be implemented in public."Music concerts are absurd because they are forbidden," Jami tells RFE/RL. "Music is bad for the mind, memory, and even human psyche. When a girl performs in front of strangers, the whole society is corrupted."Reflecting on the growing popularity of such beliefs in Herat, Khorsand says "it makes no difference for women in Afghanistan if the Taliban exists or doesn't exist.""The Taliban's way of thinking about women is the way many people are thinking in Afghanistan," she says. "A lot of Afghans have traditional ways of thinking and they believe the talk of the Taliban. Unfortunately, much of their way of thinking is against the rights of women."
Move Forward, Step Back
To be sure, Khorsand says there have been important advances for Afghan women since 2001 -- including language in the Afghan Constitution that enshrines the right to education and to work.
Women are members of parliament and can be seen on television, competing in sports, and performing in concerts in Kabul.
But the Afghan government since the collapse of the Taliban regime has included many conservative Islamists and former warlords whose attitudes about women are similar to the Taliban.
Sima Simar, the head of Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission, says the gains for women since 2001 can easily be overturned and have rarely been implemented in rural areas where most Afghans live.The 2018 Women, Peace, and Security Index by Georgetown University and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo ranks Afghanistan as the second-worst place in the world to be a woman. Only Syria was ranked worse.That study notes that only 16 percent of Afghanistan's workforce is female and that half of all Afghan women have four years or less of education.UNICEF, the United Nations children's agency, says only half of school-aged Afghan girls now go to school, and that only one out of five girls under 15 are literate.
Nearly two out of three Afghan girls are married when they are teenagers or younger. On average, they are sent by their parents into arranged marriages between the ages of 15 and 16.
Most imprisoned Afghan women have been jailed for so-called "morality crimes," such as leaving an abusive husband or demanding to marry a man of their own choosing.
A study issued in January by UN Women and the nongovernmental gender equality group Promundo found that 80 percent of Afghan women have experienced domestic physical violence.
That study found that only 15 percent of Afghan men think women should be allowed to work outside of their home after marriage, and that two-thirds of Afghan men think women already have too many rights in Afghanistan.
It is in this environment that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has refused to put a bill to a parliamentary vote that would prohibit violence against women -- despite years of domestic and international focus on the legislation.
Ghani has appointed only five women to a 37-member council tasked with trying to pave the way for direct peace talks between his government and the Taliban at a time when the Taliban refuses to talk directly with the Kabul government.Only 10 women were invited to be part of a 240-strong delegation for so-called "all-Afghan talks" with the Taliban, and even then, the first round of those talks was canceled over reported complaints by the Taliban over the composition of the delegation.
No Happy Ending
Khorsand was one of about 20 women who, under Taliban rule in Herat, regularly attended covert literature classes for girls and women at a place known as the Golden Needle sewing school.
The experiences of those young women were documented in a 2002 book by Sunday Times correspondent Christina Lamb called The Sewing Circles Of Herat.
Lamb tells RFE/RL that although women have fought bravely for their rights since the collapse of the Taliban regime in late 2001, many are now concerned that those gains will be lost as U.S. President Donald Trump's administration seeks a peace deal with the Taliban.
"Women are very unhappy because it seems as though in the rush to get out of Afghanistan, the Trump administration has prioritized only two things: that the Taliban renounce terrorism and that they stop attacking Americans and other NATO soldiers, and not that they respect the constitution and minorities and equal rights," Lamb says.
"This has left women very exposed -- which considering that women's rights had been very much part of the initial reason for removing the Taliban, it's very disappointing," Lamb says.
"I'm sure that the Taliban will insist on having some share in power as part of negotiations," Lamb says. "They are saying at the moment in these negotiations that things have changed, that they will allow girls to go to school and for women to work. But who knows what the reality will be were they to actually have power again.
"We certainly have seen in some areas [under Taliban control recently] women being lashed by Taliban because they're not regarded as being properly covered," Lamb says. "It's very risky and I can see why women are extremely concerned."
As for the women Lamb wrote about in The Sewing Circles Of Herat, she says most have not seen a happy ending to their story after 18 years.
"Sadly, those particular women who bravely met under the guise of the sewing circles and who were writing stories and poems secretly, most of them have left the country or have stopped writing because they are not happy with the situation," Lamb tells RFE/RL.
"One of them, a poet called Nadia Anjuman, was actually killed by her husband because he wasn't happy about the fact that she was speaking publicly and writing about women's rights," Lamb says.
In 2016, Khorsand left Afghanistan for Ottawa, Canada, where she lives with her husband and twin 14-year-old daughters and remains in regular contact with rights activists in Herat.
Khorsand tells RFE/RL she went to Canada for her daughters' sake because it is her "primary duty as a mother" to ensure that they get the best education she can provide them.
Once her daughters finish school, Khorsand vows to enroll in a university human rights program in Canada -- and then return to Herat "to continue the fight" for the rights of Afghan women.
Mangal had shared her fears in a defiant post on Facebook on 3 May. She said she was being sent threatening messages but declared that a strong woman wasn’t afraid of death, and that she loved her country. Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said unknown attackers had shot Mangal, and a special police unit was now investigating. In a tearful video posted to Twitter, Mangal’s mother named a group of men as suspected killers, claiming they had previously kidnapped her daughter. The group were arrested for that abduction, she said, but later bribed their way out of detention. Mangal made her name as a presenter on the Pashto-language channel Tolo TV, the country’s largest private broadcaster, and later worked for one of its key competitors, Shamshad TV.
Off-screen she was a passionate advocate of women’s rights to education and work, and had recently become a cultural adviser to the lower chamber of Afghanistan’s national parliament.
“Can’t stop my tears at the loss of this beautiful soul. She had a loud voice, and actively raised [that] voice for her people,” Frogh said.
But there is a sense that the latest murder comes at a time when women are particularly vulnerable. Afghan women’s rights activists have warned that they have been almost entirely excluded from a US drive to broker peace with the Taliban, putting hard-won freedoms in jeopardy. When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, before the US-led campaign to topple them in 2001, they barred women from education and most work, forcing them to wear the burqa.
The fight for women’s rights was often presented as a major driver of western military intervention, but appears to have been largely sidelined as the US tries to wrap up its longest ever war. Although the Taliban has paid lip service to women’s rights at international meetings, in the parts of the country it controls there are harsh restrictions including a de-facto ban on secondary education for girls.
And just days before Mangal’s murder, the Taliban attacked the headquarters of an international aid group in Kabul, citing its work on women’s rights as one reason it was targeted.
The Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Counterpart International had carried out “harmful western activities” in Afghanistan, and was “promoting open inter-mixing between men and women”.