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Hikmatyar may take part in next presidential election: experts

Hikmatyar may take part in next presidential election: experts

Sep 24, 2016 - 10:58

KABUL (Pajhwok): A media report on Saturday hinted at Gulbadin Hikmatyar, a Hizb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) head, whose negotiating team has just signed a historic peace deal with Afghan government, could run for next presidential election.

According to express tribune the deal cleared the way for the return of the Hekmatyar, possibly in a few weeks, the group was now weighing options for active political role in Afghanistan. A top Hizb leader has indicated that Hekmatyar could stand in the next presidential elections. Hekmatyar wouldl seal the agreement along with President Ashraf Ghani after he returns to Kabul.

Qazi Hakim told the news paper: “Although it is premature to say anything now, I do not rule out the possibility of Hekmatyar becoming a presidential candidate,” Hakim, who had also been involved in peace negotiations with the government, said his party would take active part in next parliamentary elections.

HIA finally signed a long-awaited peace deal with the government that paves the way for the group to wind up its armed struggle and join mainstream politics. Hizb fighters and commanders would be ‘recruited’ into the security forces, according the 25-point draft of the agreement.

Afghan journalist Najam Burhani was of the opinion Hizb could emerge as a second political force to challenge its traditional rival, Jamiat-e-Islami, led by Foreign Minister Sayed Salahuddin Rabbani. Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah, who had earlier opposed the deal, also belongs to Jamiat. “I think HIA joining political activities will lower the influence of Jamiat-e-Islami and will end one party’s domination. Hekmatyar’s participation in politics will give a momentum to political process in Afghanistan,” he said.

Nazar Mutmaeen, a political affairs analyst, describes the peace accord as a ‘big achievement’ of President Ashraf Ghani; however, he said it would not have any effect on the military situation.

“The agreement will not have any impact on the Taliban war. But the Hizb will be brought to Kabul to challenge the Northern Alliance,” Mutmaeen told The Express Tribune from Kabul by the phone.

He also said there was an impression in Kabul that the deal had been inked to prepare Hizb for ‘fighting with the Taliban’.

The Taliban have not officially commented on the Hizb peace accord but have used their official media to mock it as ‘political marriage.’ Section of the online media, which is considered very close to the Taliban, says that Hekmatyar’s reconciliation has no ‘worth’ in the changed Afghan scenario.

Public opinion in Afghanistan expressed optimism the deal would lead to sustainable peace in the country. Qudratullah, a resident of Aino Mina area of the capital of southern Kandahar province, told Pajhwok Afghan News that people were happy after the peace agreement between the two sides was signed after a long wait.

He said people were tired of war and destructions and they became happy with every step taken towards peace in the country.

Izzatullah, another resident of Kandahar City, said hopes about lasting peace increased after the government and the HIA signed peace agreement.

The successful talks between the government and the HIA would encourage other armed opponents to come forward and join the peace process, he believed.

Soon after the peace agreement was signed National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar asked the international community to remove sanctions on the Gulbadin Hekmatyar-led  HIA.  

Atmar said the first stage of the long-awaited peace deal had ended and the second would be completed soon, but gave no specific date.

He thanked the president, the chief executive officer (CEO) and their deputies  and others and said: “Whenever we have faced problems we never hesitated from taking comprehensive guidance, which gave us hope that the peace deal with HIA will lead to a successful end.”