Friday, 5 May 2017

"To the Taliban I say actually who is your leader? Where is he? Apart from war, murder and destruction to this nation, what plans do you have?" - President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani

Hekmatyar with Afghan leaders
Afghan presidential palace on Thursday 4 May 2017 hosted Hizb-i-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who returned to Kabul after 20 years following a peace deal with the government. 
The ceremony, broadcast live on national TV channel, showed Hekmatyar walking and sitting with Afghan unity government leaders and other politicians.

“We have come together to approve and support peace,” Hekmatyar said in the full packed hall in the palace. He said that his group had accepted the constitution, but claimed that some laws needed amendment. “The Constitution has clearly mentioned that no laws in Afghanistan should be against Islamic laws,” he said without detailing which articles needed amendment.
The present Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was agreed upon by more than 500 delegates representing Afghan men and women from across the country at the Constitutional Loya Jirga (December 13, 2003 – January 4, 2004). The Constitution was formally ratified by President Hamid Karzai at a ceremony in Kabul on January 26, 2004.
The full text of the Constitution may be found at this link: http://president.gov.af/en/afghan-constitution-2/
Note: this is an unofficial English translation of the Constitution. In any conflict between this and the original Dari / Pashto Constitution, the Dari / Pashto version shall take precedence.
Commenting on the structure of the government, he said that the coalition government doesn’t work in the country. He further rejected calls for parliamentary system of governance which has been proposed majorly by Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. “We don’t believe in parliamentary system of governance, it is not suitable for Afghanistan,” he said. The former militant leader said that he would not join the “coalition government” not his group was seeking ministries, but also maintained that he was not seeking collapse of the government. Calling Taliban ‘brothers’, Hekmatyar reiterated his call on the group to join peace. “Let’s put an end to foreign troops’ excuse for presence in Afghanistan.” He further called for greater involvement of the local population in maintaining security of their localities. Referring to allegations of war crimes, Hekmatyar said that there is no such court that could trial war criminals. And on media, he said that some outlets were telling lies and were igniting war in the country. Hekmatyar called on countries in the region not to interfere in the internal affairs of Afghans and stop sending the country’s youths to Syria war.

Welcoming Hekmatyar to public life, President Ghani hoped that Taliban could also follow suit and join peace. He also promised to hold transparent elections. “Dialogue should lead us to be trusted not to cause confrontation. On the other hand access to power comes through elections,” he said. “We are ready to pay any price on peace, which Afghans can afford to,” he said saying war is not the solution. "To the Taliban I say actually who is your leader? Where is he? Apart from war, murder and destruction to this nation, what plans do you have," he questioned. The event also saw Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, former president Hamid Karzai, former Jihadi leader Abdul Rab Rasool Sayyaf, Lower House and Senate speakers, former vice-presidents Karim Khalili and Yonus Qanooni addressing the gathering.