Sustainable peace requires the commitment of all Afghans, say Baghlan TV panellists
PUL-E-KHUMRI - All Afghans must play their part in bringing the ongoing conflict to an end, said religious scholars and rights activists in a UN-backed TV programme broadcast in the north-eastern province of Baghlan.
The programme, which featured panellists exchanging ideas about peace and taking questions from a studio audience, discussed the importance of individual and community efforts to resolve conflict.
Panellist Osman Sherzai, a rights activist from Baghlan, spoke about the need for more work to be done to build trust among communities, and stressed that equality and social justice are essential components of any effort to avert conflict and create an environment where peace has a chance of succeeding.
“To sustain peace, we need to build trust, but we also need social justice and to end to all types of discrimination,” Sherzai said.
Mawlawi Abdul Ghani, an official from Baghlan’s Department of Hajj and Religious Affairs, expressed similar views, saying that efforts toward lasting peace must include all members of society, especially women and youth.
He also said that religious scholars can and should play a unique role in any peace process. “Religious scholars are well placed to be trusted by both sides of the armed conflict,” he explained, noting that scholars can help influence peace at local and national levels.
Afghanistan’s religious scholars, known as Ulema, play a key role in setting moral and ethical standards for their communities. They often work as peace brokers, and are respected at all levels of society, exerting influence on individual and community decisions.
In their interactive discussion with the studio audience, the panellists urged everyone to do their part in building peace and tolerance locally, among their communities. They stressed that peace is every Afghan’s responsibility and appealed to all parties to the conflict to engage in dialogue to end the deadly war.
Produced by local media outlet Tanweer TV with the support of UNAMA’s Kunduz regional office, the programme was broadcast to an audience estimated at several hundred thousand people in and around Baghlan’s capital of Pul-e-Khumri.
Baghlan, one of four provinces in Afghanistan’s north-eastern region, connects the northern and north-eastern regions of the country to Kabul through the Salang Pass. Baghlan is a mostly rural and agricultural province known for its cotton, sugar, pistachio and pomegranate production.
UNAMA continues to work with advocacy groups and institutions, including provincial councils, religious leaders, youth groups, women’s groups and local media stations such as Tanweer TV to create platforms, using radio, social media and television, for Afghans to engage in dialogue on pressing issues affecting their communities.
At almost every UNAMA-backed event, local media partners not only record the discussions and debates for later rebroadcast, but also create new programmes around the issues that are raised, extending the discussion and creating new opportunities for local voices to be heard on issues such as peace, reconciliation, government transparency, human rights and rule of law.
UNAMA supports the Afghan people and government to achieve peace and stability. In accordance with its mandate as a political mission, UNAMA backs conflict prevention and resolution, promoting inclusion and social cohesion, as well as strengthening regional cooperation. The Mission supports effective governance, promoting national ownership and accountable institutions that are built on respect for human rights.
UNAMA provides 'good offices' and other key services, including diplomatic steps that draw on the organization’s independence, impartiality and integrity to prevent disputes from arising, escalating or spreading. The Mission coordinates international support for Afghan development and humanitarian priorities.