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No Afghan should be disenfranchised: Hekmatyar

No Afghan should be disenfranchised: Hekmatyar

Nov 08, 2017 - 19:40

KABUL (Pajhwok): Stressing the holding of Wolesi Jirga and district council elections on the given date, Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) supreme leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on Wednesday said attempts were being made to postpone the next year’s polls.

Addressing a gathering of about 3,000 supporters at the Loya Jirga’s Tent in Kabul, Hekmatyar said his party had entered a new phase of endeavors --- far harder than armed combat.

The HIA, he said, had faced many challenges in the past as efforts were made to disintegrate the party but Wednesday’s gathering showed the party was still alive in people's hearts.

He said today’s gathering was taking place at a significant time as dozens of thousands of HIA loyalists would select 3,000 high profile people -- including prayer leaders, former jihadi commanders, Wolesi Jirga and Mesharano Jirga members, ministers, governors, university chancellors, tribal council chiefs, provincial council heads -- as members of the group’s central council.

Hekmatyar said another executive council would be established which would be consisted of 500 members to be chosen from among the 3,000 people of central council, who would represent the group and would take decisions.

The HIA leader insisted on timely holding of Wolesi Jirga and district council elections and said efforts were being made to delay the polls.

He said a number of political parties feared the HIA and were trying to create hurdles for elections; however, no one would be allowed to postpone the elections.

Hekmatyar went on to say that foreigners should not interfere in elections and they should have the role of monitors in order bitter experiences of the past were avoided.

“We want elections on time and no Afghan must be deprived of the right to vote. We have more than four millions of refugees, who also have the right to vote.”

He asked insurgent groups, especially the Taliban, to join the peace process, saying his party was ready to support Taliban’s legitimate demands if the group agreed to join the peace process.

Hekmatyar also declared support to the incumbent government, adding there was no other proper alternative available to replace the current government. Therefore, he said, HIA wasn’t in favor of seeing the current government weakening.

The HIA leader, while referring to the peace pact with the unity government, said the promises held out to his group regarding establishment of a township for refugees and setting free HIA prisoners were yet to be honored. But instead some other HIA members had been imprisoned meantime, he added.

In spite of all this, the party was committed to the peace accord signed with the unity government, he said, adding his party would continue its struggle through peace and political channels and it was optimistic about future.