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Editorial: The sacred month

The holy month of Ramadan will begin this week. Mostly like from Tuesday. Afghans across the country, from Nangarhar to Kunduz and from Herat to Badakhshan are preparing for the start of the holy month. As fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, it holds special importance. Unfortunately, most of people do not pay heed to the main message and purpose of Ramadan. This holy month teaches about patience, compassion, unity, peace and forgiveness. The message is not time-bounded. It must be followed throughout the life. Thus, if the message was not followed in letter and spirit, fasting become only a practice rather than worship and obeying commandments of God.

Sadly, a very few in Afghanistan show patients and compassion from sun rise to sun set, let alone the whole year and life. Insurgents, claiming to be true Muslims, never announce ceasefire but see Ramadan as opportunity to attack high-value targets and public places. They see pleasure and achievement in the bloodshed of own brothers and sisters. How can they call themselves true Muslims when they do not follow the religion and its teachings in spirit? To prove they are true believers, they must put an immediate end to the violence and follow the teachings of the religion by giving chance to peace.

In order to do so, first they must announce ceasefire and engage in the Afghan-led reconciliation process for welfare of Afghans and good of the religion. Moreover, the government shall also take advantage of the opportunity provided by Ramadan. The authorities shall contact the dissident groups to join the table of peace talks. The truth may be hard to digest, but it is fact that the Afghan government mostly relied on other countries to contact the insurgent groups.  The former and current authorities claimed that they are fighting a war imposed on Afghans. No doubt that it is an imposed war. However, the relevant authorities and leaders are not going to the depth of the issue. They still to understand that why the neighboring countries or global players would help Afghanistan in the peace process if they imposed war on this nation. The government shall look for homemade remedies instead of knocking on the doors where only evil plots are hatched.

Besides engaging the militants in peace talks through direct contacts, the government shall also launch crackdown against hoarders who are responsible for price-hike. Prices of commodities are on rise before Ramadan. The authorities must take action against hoarding during the holy month to provide relief to the common people. Businessmen should announce special packages instead of storing goods. Prices of different commodities such as rice, flour, sugar, cooking oil, vegetables and fruits have already increased ahead of Ramadan. The businessmen shall not see Ramadan as a month of profit by putting heavy burden on the buyers. They shall reduce the prices if they see Ramadan as the month of blessings.

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