In less than two years, Gulalai Mohammadi has gone from being Afghanistan’s youngest congressman to living a life of hiding under the Taliban regime – and frequently fearful of becoming the next famous Afghan woman to be assassinated.
“Even at night, I couldn’t sleep well, because I thought someone would come and someone would kill me too,” she said in an interview with CBC. House.
Last Sunday, a woman whom Mohammadi considers a “sister” – 29-year-old former Afghan MP Mursal Nabizada – was shot dead along with her bodyguard in Kabul. Police said they were investigating the murders.
“She did nothing wrong,” said Mohammadi, who last saw her friend just three weeks before her death. Mohammadi said she believes her former fellow congressman is a target in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan because she is a popular woman.
Both women are part of a group of nine former MPs who are hoping to come to Canada. The country’s politicians have been campaigning to bring women here since the fall.
Corey Levine, a human rights campaigner who has worked with Canadian politicians to try to get former MPs here, said that since Nabizada’s death, the effort has been to get the remaining eight women out. outside has become “extraordinarily urgent”.
Levine said these women are encouraged by the international community, including Canada, to participate in public life.
“Now they are living in fear. And it’s time for the international community to do something,” she said.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser told CBC Political power on Thursday that the female legislators’ cases were among those the government was studying to determine if they could provide refuge.
“But there’s a fundamental issue that people need to understand about how the process of bringing refugees to Canada works. It’s not like I sit in my office just making choices,” he said.
Fraser said the government works with international agencies, including the United Nations, to identify the vulnerability of individual asylum seekers.
“Letting me bypass the process by selecting specific individuals is not how the process works in this or other refugee resettlement initiatives,” he added.
The federal government has committed to bringing 40,000 Afghan refugees to Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada says 27,345 Afghans have arrived under various programs since August 2021.
Conservative MP Alex Ruff, a member of an all-party parliamentary group trying to bring women to Canada, said Fraser’s comments about the process were like an “excuse”.
Ruff, who served in the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan, said: “I have a problem with his unwillingness to deal with this personally, using his authority under the Protection Act. Protects Immigrants and Refugees. He has immunity.”
He added that the women “are thought to be most at risk because they represent everything the Taliban regime abhors”.
CBC News: The House10:35One of the eight remaining female parliamentarians in Afghanistan speaks out
‘There I will be free’
Mohammadi said she is living a restrained life since the Taliban’s recent decision to ban women from going to university. She said she was forced to stop studying and now rarely leaves the house. When she did, she said, she wore a burka.
The 28-year-old girl’s dream is to return to study and work as an advocate in Canada.
“Because if I speak out in Afghanistan, both me and my family, they will be in danger. I can’t do anything special. But there I will be free and I will be able to do something for the sake of rights. of women,” she said. .
When asked if she had a message for the Canadian government, Mohammadi focused on the needs of all women in Afghanistan.
“They were stripped of everything, including their basic rights,” she said. “I ask the government and people of Canada to stand by the women of Afghanistan at this critical time.”