At a United Nations supported Ulema (religious scholars) from eastern region of Afghanistan today vowed to work for peace and raise awareness among the Afghan people of the importance of the upcoming elections and of the need to ensure the high level of women's participation
The conference was organized under the auspices of the Provincial Department of Religious Affairs of Nangarhar province with the
“According to Islam, every society and every country should have elected leaders; this is the reason we always explain the importance of elections in our sermons and encourage people to take part in democratic processes,” said Qazi Enayatullah, a religious scholar and Chairman of the Provincial Council of Nuristan.
Another religious scholar from Kunar province, Azizullah Muhammadi termed the conference highly important and said that Ulema, due to their traditional influence in Afghan society, can play a significant role in spreading the messages of peace and reconciliation.
UNAMA, under its current mandate, has a particular focus on supporting the organization and conduct of the Presidential and Provincial Council elections, slated for 5 April this year. At the request of the Government, it provides capacity-building and technical assistance to the Afghan electoral bodies and supports Afghan authorities' efforts aimed at ensuring the sustainability, integrity and inclusiveness of the electoral process.
Active participation of women in the upcoming elections is one of the UNAMA priorities. “We all need to work together in encouraging women’s participation on polling day itself, and in every stage of the proess,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Ján Kubiš, in his address to the national conference on women and elections, held earlier in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
In today’s event, Ulema discussed a variety of election related issues, including their transparency and credibility as well as peace, reconciliation and public awareness.
The conference concluded by adopting a nine-point resolution expressing Ulema's commitment to encourage Afghans to participate in the elections, and their resolve to work for peace in the country.
The conference was also attended by professors from the Nangarhar University, representatives from the Independent Election Commission (IEC), the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Programme, women activists and about 80 prominent religious scholars including the Directors of the Religious Affairs Departments and Ulema Councils from four eastern provinces, Nangarhar, Kunar, Laghman and Nuristan.