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Bridging Pakistan’s Gender Divide
Bridging Pakistan’s Gender Divide
Report 262 / Asia

重设巴基斯坦与阿富汗的关系

执行摘要

一直以来,巴基斯坦同阿富汗关系的主要基调基本是互不信任,且仅建立在狭隘的安全议题上。虽然结束根深蒂固的仇恨要花很大力气,但两国有着紧密的民族、语言、宗教和经济联系。在巴基斯坦建国以前,阿富汗人就早已在往该地区迁移,现今已成为巴基斯坦社会不可或缺的成员。然而,巴基斯坦军方基于他们所认为的国家安全利益制定了干预政策,支持其在阿富汗以普什图人为主的代理人,两国关系因此受损。即将上任的阿富汗总统加尼提出扩展双边关系,为伊斯兰堡提供了改善关系的崭新契机。巴基斯坦总理谢里夫对此作出积极回应,然而,随着阿富汗过渡期的临近,巴基斯坦军方和文职领袖们对喀布尔的态度愈发不同。通过将两国关系重新向经济关系定位,并寻求解决巴基斯坦领土上数百万阿富汗难民的问题,巴基斯坦可以同邻国阿富汗进行更具建设性的接触。

稳定摇摇欲坠的经济是谢里夫的首要目标,但安全是前提,而不稳定的邻国也会造成障碍。因此,谢里夫的政府主动接触阿富汗,以期能缓解双方的紧张关系,并为过渡期后阿富汗的稳定出力。但是,巴基斯坦军方高级将领继续一手托两家,或明或暗地支持阿富汗卷土重来的叛乱活动,这有可能阻碍阿富汗的顺利过渡。

自2001年塔利班被赶下台以来,阿富汗叛乱分子一直把巴基斯坦当成避难所。三个主要武装组织—奥马尔领导的“舒拉”(意为“立法会”),希克马蒂亚领导的“阿富汗伊斯兰党”和同基地组织有关的“哈卡尼网络”—都把它们的指挥控制部门设在巴基斯坦,并在巴基斯坦行动。这些叛乱分子的温床一直在持续削弱阿富汗打击叛乱的努力,在2014年安全防务过渡之后,它们可能会继续带来这样的影响。

巴基斯坦的干预政策还危及国内和平。阿富汗叛乱分子同巴基斯坦自己的部落极端分子沆瀣一气,而这些部落极端分子则是宗派、地区和跨国圣战组织联盟的一部分。在阿富汗极端分子的支持下,巴基斯坦的部落极端分子挑战政府的权威,在同阿富汗接壤地带的联邦直辖部落地区和白沙瓦省尤为猖獗。军方领导的解决办法或以绥靖交易为基础,或是通过对巴基斯坦塔利班派别发动强势军事镇压,两者都效果不佳。

巴基斯坦极端分子利用他们与阿富汗同伙的关系,在阿富汗获得了避难所,并以此拓宽了向巴基斯坦目标发动袭击的行动空间,这说明巴军方必须结束一切对阿富汗代理人或明或暗的支持。然而,这很大程度上依赖于巴基斯坦文职政府能否在脆弱的民主过渡中从军方手中夺下对国家安全和外交政策的控制权。

从2008年巴基斯坦开始民主过渡起,连续两届政府都意图改善与阿富汗的关系,政策之一即不干预,但都因军方拒不让步而失败。在2013年5月的选举后,巴基斯坦首次实现了政权从一个民选政府向另一个民选政府的过渡,这给加强文官对国家安全和外交政策的控制提供了良机,包括改善同阿富汗关系。但是,以巴基斯坦正义运动党领导人伊姆兰·汗和神职人员兼政客塔希尔·卡德里为首的反政府示威活动从2014年8月开始一直持续至今,这加大军方的筹码,使其更能迫使谢里夫的巴基斯坦穆斯林联盟-纳瓦兹政府妥协,在涉及阿富汗这个巴基斯坦最敏感的地区关系之一时尤其如此。

然而,谢里夫仍有机会重新定义双边关系,将其扩展到狭窄的安全议题以外,这并不仅仅因为喀布尔的新政府开始了主动接触。在民主过渡稳定下来,巴政府可以结束对阿富汗代理人或明或暗的支持之前,谢里夫应同喀布尔合作,拓展经济关系,包括升级与扩充道路和两国边境铁路等基础设施,减少繁缛的安全措施,打击腐败,并开始就自由贸易协议展开会谈。简化过境和为两国公民提供经济机会也会使两国获益。但是,改善两国关系需要巴方帮助其领土上数百万阿富汗难民改善惶惶不安的生活。伊斯兰堡应签署并批准1951年《难民公约》及其1967年的议定书。在此之前,巴基斯坦应为难民立法,将对难民的长期保护和难民的权利写进法律,并尊重难民不被遣返的权利。

伊斯兰堡/布鲁塞尔,2014年10月28日

Crisis Group's South Asia Project Director Samina Ahmed during field research in Swat, Pakistan. Samina Ahmed/CRISIS GROUP
Commentary / Asia

Bridging Pakistan’s Gender Divide

Embarking on field research into Pakistan’s chronic crises sixteen years ago, our South Asia Project Director Samina Ahmed was a woman in a man’s world. But her experiences persuade her that understanding conflict requires rigorously incorporating the perspectives of women and girls whose opportunities are frequently inhibited by violence.

“Our people won’t let a girl study beyond the third grade (eight or nine years old). But this girl here cries and says: ‘I want to learn’. And I love her so much that I have no choice but to send her away from our village, because no education is available here beyond primary school level. She will go to the big city and she will learn and be the first one in the family”.

I hear these words from a Pakistani father about his daughter back in the early 2000s, on my second research assignment for the International Crisis Group. I am travelling in Balochistan, an area affected by a decade-old insurgency. I am seeking to unpack the causes of militancy and conflict through meetings with former militants, political workers, rights activists and religious leaders.

The eagerness of a little girl to defy the odds against her studying still resonates for me, as does her father’s sympathetic support, despite all the obstacles of tradition. They epitomise countless testimonies I hear throughout my travels. Not only do they influence how I work, but they guide my understanding of Pakistan and of how people – especially but not only women and children – experience its violence and multiple conflicts.

Addressing Security Concerns to Advance Gender Equality in Pakistan

Crisis Group's South Asia Project Director Samina Ahmed talks about the importance of security for the advancement of gender equality in Pakistan. CRISIS GROUP

Unheard Voices, Invisible Forces

On this pivotal day for me in Balochistan, a region tucked up against Iran and Afghanistan, I am planning to meet liberal, secular political activists, opponents of the Islamist Taliban. The meeting at this house, sitting cross-legged on the floor are only men, with one exception: a little girl. Responding to my questions, her father explains her determination to go to school and praises her character and tenacity to fulfil her dream.

He then proposes that I speak to other women from their community to hear their perspectives and experiences of the situation in the province. Such an opportunity in a part of the country where men and women live segregated lives is rare for any outsider. I jump at the chance and am escorted to the part of the house where women of the family live, off-limits to all men barring close relatives.

A large group of women greet me, well-dressed for the occasion. They gather round, excited at the chance to meet an outsider. They start by asking questions. How can a woman do the job I do? How can I work alone? How do I travel long distances freely? Except for family visits once a year, they say, they never venture beyond the walls of their home. They begin sharing their experiences and life stories. Some tell me that they would like to be educated and to have a job. There is anger and frustration in their voices. They know what they want, but believe it beyond their reach.

This meeting has a profound effect on me. I am a longstanding women’s rights activist, and was a member of the Women’s Action Forum in the 1980s during military rule. Having studied in universities in Pakistan and abroad, and worked in several countries, I am comfortable standing up for myself in a man’s world. But experiencing real, well-articulated frustration on both male and female sides of a traditional Pashtun household makes me start to think anew about the gender divide.

I come to realise that being a female researcher is a definite plus, as it gives me access to women as well as men.

I begin to understand the importance of integrating gender power dynamics into my conflict analysis by listening to women and girls in conflict-affected areas, even if they are publicly invisible. I come to realise that being a female researcher is a definite plus, as it gives me access to women as well as men. That day I make a conscious choice: I will redouble efforts to interview women as well as men, understand how they experience violence and their perspective on ending it and harness their potential to help build a more peaceful society.

The Remotest Reaches of Pakistan

In my years at Crisis Group I travel throughout Pakistan, from the slums of its largest city, Karachi, on the Indian Ocean to the hamlets of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along the border with Afghanistan. I talk to people of all walks of life, especially the unheard and invisible parts of society. These include not just the voices of girls and women, but also those of political party workers, fishermen and farmers struggling for survival in often harsh and inhospitable terrain.

As a female researcher, I face no resistance while at work. The challenges are those faced by every woman travelling in Pakistan. The absence of public toilets for women, for example, poses not just a health but also a security hazard. Overall, though, during my trips, including times when I am the only woman staying in hole-in-the-wall hotels, I find that people are especially anxious to ensure that I am comfortable and safe.

Being a professional, at times people forget that I am a woman. They rarely treat me as an outsider, or a woman not conforming to local norms. The exception is in urban centres where I visit more conservative madrasas or mosques, though even there, people do not stop or openly rebuke me. Only very occasionally does someone ask me to cover my hair, as normally expected of a Muslim woman in Pakistan. Through their demeanour, however, people can convey that they are at least uncomfortable if not hostile to independent women like myself.

Of course I am conscious that not all Pakistani women think like me. This strikes me most forcefully one day on a visit to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. I attend a session of the local parliament, where the ruling Islamist Party has a large number of female parliamentarians. Yet it is the men who talk, while the women simply sit there in silence.

“Aren’t you going to take part in the debate?”, I ask one of the women from the Islamist Party.

“No, my male leaders will talk on my behalf”, she retorts.

Providing a public platform to women is sometimes not enough to ensure that they themselves express their views and needs. In some cases, women in public life may also serve as proxies for other interests.

And yet I also see women and girls, like that little girl in the remote household in Balochistan, who want to speak out, who want to learn, who want an education, and whose menfolk are sometimes willing to listen to them.

The Madrasa Paradox

Women are not the whole story, since men are also changing, sometimes almost without being aware of it. I become conscious of this during my research on madrasas, or religious schools, a truly male preserve that I initially do not even connect to women.

I cannot enter madrasas, so a male Crisis Group colleague must talk to male students there. But I can meet the leaders of the religious parties that run much of the madrasa sector. I approach one Islamist party leader, who runs what is possibly the largest and most extreme group of madrasas, where almost nothing except the strictest interpretation of the Quran is taught. Surprisingly, he invites me to his home. Clearly, he doesn’t consider me as a threat as a woman. His young son is even present.

“Well sister”, the party leader says, “please tell my son he should study hard”.

Maulana, what does the young boy study?” I ask.

“English, mathematics and computer sciences”.

“But Maulana”, I shoot back. “Why isn’t he in your madrasa?”.

And he replies: “Sister, times have changed”.

Giving Women a Chance

In 2005, I travel to Swat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to get a sense of what is happening in the countryside. A guide, who is an ex-fighter wounded on battlefronts in both Afghanistan and in Kashmir, invites me home to meet his family. His house lies in a small, beautiful mountain village where he lives with his young daughters. His biggest problem: the obstacles he faces in giving these girls a formal education.

“You know”, he says, “for me the most precious thing now is their lives. And their futures. But what do I have to offer them? There is no school here. Without that, they can’t be ever like you, educated. And that’s what I want”.

Then the girls cluster round and I speak with them about what they believe the village most urgently needs. Their answer is simple: water, because they have to travel long distances just to get enough water for the house. And education. Through the years, I often hear this refrain.

Schooling comes up again when I try to explain Crisis Group’s conflict prevention work to one fifteen-year-old girl in Balochistan’s Gwadar city, a major naval base and now the hub of the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor. She responds with frustration and anger.

“You know, we are sick of the UN and you NGOs. You come here, you talk, you preach, you write, over and over again, but you don’t do anything for us”.

“What you think needs to be done?”, I ask.

“Look, I don’t want to be a teacher. I want to be a scientist. But in my school, there is not even a science teacher!”, she says. “I will never be a scientist unless we have what you had, the privilege of a good education”.

I learn my lesson right there. I want to do something about the lack of opportunities offered to her. Pakistani society may seem conservative about women’s education, but under the surface, currents for change are building momentum.

Pakistani society may seem conservative about women’s education, but under the surface, currents for change are building momentum.

My research across Pakistan illustrates the impact that insecurity has on girls’ ability to seek an education. Every person interviewed ­– not just young girls, but also their fathers and brothers – said that if their daughters or sisters could travel without risk to a nearby school, they would send them there. In much of the countryside, however, people often live far from schools; in rough urban districts, the daily trip to school may pose a physical threat. “We can’t risk them going long distances. It’s too unsafe”, is a complaint I hear often. It challenges my previous notion that cultural and social restrictions alone prevent girls from accessing education in Pakistan’s conflict zones.

These insights lead me to write two reports on girls’ education in Pakistan. The first one, Pakistan: Reforming the Education Sector, published in October 2004, warns that Pakistan’s deteriorating education system and a curriculum that promotes religious intolerance fails to equip young people with the skills necessary for a modern economy, and, in some cases, creates foot soldiers for jihadist groups.

I return to the subject ten years later, publishing Education Reform in Pakistan to show that millions are still out of school, the curriculum remains unreformed, and the education system remains alarmingly impoverished. That report also raises the problem of safe access to schools for girls, as well as the need to change the curriculum to protect against religious extremism and sectarianism.

A Mutual Interdependence

I am humbled again and again by human rights activists, humanitarian aid workers, and women’s rights leaders across Pakistan who risk their lives to promote positive changes in the country.

I am humbled again and again by human rights activists, humanitarian aid workers, and women’s rights leaders across Pakistan who risk their lives to promote positive changes in the country. By interviewing them and writing about their views, I take their voices to senior decision-makers in Pakistan. A leading champion of women’s rights, Pakistan’s first woman Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, lauding the recommendations of our reports, told her party leaders that they should be essential reading. Unlike me, though, many of the people I interview are physically threatened and attacked. Yet every time I meet them, they thank me. I always feel it should be the other way around.

What women fear most is violence as they travel from their homes to earn a living and support their families.

The interdependence of my work and theirs is driven home to me one day in Punjab. I meet a lawyer who says he distributes photocopied versions of our reports among the members of his bar council to build consciousness of the legal changes Pakistan needs, especially to open new opportunities for women. I voice my surprise when he adds that he buys the reports ready-bound in a bookshop, even though they are available for free on our website. He sums up the relationship between Crisis Group, with our research and policy advocacy, and dedicated activists. His group is ready to distribute our work this way because, he says: “We have learned as much from these reports as you have learned from us”.

In 2016, writing about different layers of criminal, jihadist and ethno-religious violence in Karachi, I take my insights on what is holding schoolgirls back and test how they may apply to society more broadly. I look into gender-based violence where women are regularly subjected to sexual harassment on the streets as they go to work. Like girls trying to gain a formal education, I find that women from poor and marginalised communities in this mega-city, Pakistan’s economic hub, have few options to travel safely to their place of work. What women fear most is violence as they travel from their homes to earn a living and support their families.

By incorporating the perspectives of women and girls into my research, amplifying their voices and analysing how they experience the violence endemic to parts of Pakistan, Crisis Group’s work aims to provide a richer understanding of violence and conflict in my home country and encourage the government to take meaningful steps to address the simple problem of safety. Every woman who can leave her house each day to school or work represents a step forward.