The News International
16 October 2001

Peace activists condemn American attacks on Afghanistan

Our correspondent

ISLAMABAD: The Citizens Peace Committee (CPC) staged a demonstration in front of the United Nations office here on Monday. Dozens of peace activists took part in the protest. They said the police detained three wagons of activists coming from Rawalpindi. They were denied entry to Islamabad to prevent them from taking part in the demonstration.

In a resolution addressed to the UN secretary general, the CPC condemned the military attacks by the United States and Britain on Afghanistan which are causing large-scale civilian casualties in Afghanistan as well as immense damage to areas of high population density.

The CPC said by carrying out these attacks, the United States has undermined the norms of democratic multilateralism and has irreversibly damaged the credibility of multilateral forums of conflict resolution. The unilateral action carried out by the United States has amplified a conflict that will only feed on itself. The attacks are also endangering the lives of millions of defenseless Afghans, and are pushing more and more civilians to flee their homes and seek refuge in other countries. This situation is exacerbating the already acute humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the serious refugee crisis in Pakistan.

In addition, the response by extremist groups in Pakistan has incited further terror in the common citizen of Pakistan. CPC condemns the fanatical violence engaged in by these groups, particularly their wanton attacks on the lives and property of public interest organisations in the NWFP, the resolution added.

In this condition of reckless violence, citizens throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan feel insecure. Their interests are being trampled upon by the United States and its allied governments and by the religious extremist groups. There is a clear and urgent need for the United Nations to play its due role in combating terrorism. The CPC, in its shared commitment to the principles of justice, peace and democracy, thus calls on the United Nations to:

1. Force the United States and its allies to cease all military action in Afghanistan immediately. The secretary-general of the United Nations must step in forthwith as a mediator to resolve the conflict non-militarily;

2. Set up a task force to carry out an investigation of the September 11 attacks and present all evidence to the world citizenry;

3. Coordinate action against suspected perpetrators of the crime and bring them to face trial before the International Court of Justice on the basis of proof;

4. Immediately respond to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan by negotiating with all powers in the country for safe passage of relief aid to reach the most needy. At the same time, ensure the provision of basic necessities to Afghan refugees in Pakistan without placing undue burden on the host population;

5. Establish a high-level multi-national task force to inquire into the reasons for international terrorism and non-violent ways to control it. In this respect, the hasty and incomplete definition of  terrorism adopted by the Security Council is inadequate and must be abandoned forthwith; and

6. Democratise its own internal working by granting maximum decision-making power to the General Assembly and taking away permanent seats and veto powers in the Security Council.