KABUL (Pajhwok): Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on Thursday announced the formation of “Grand Gathering of National Unity (GGNU),” a coalition of several political parties and said the coalition might field a joint presidential candidate.
In his address to the gathering, Hekmatyar said their purpose was not making an electoral alliance but they wanted to bring together like-minded individuals.
The HIA leader asked foreigners to stop interfering in Afghanistan’s matters and said the alliance demands included a bilateral ceasefire, a temporary government and elections under the temporary set up, a timetable for withdrawal of foreign forces and standing against those who opposed peace.
Hekmatyar termed the upcoming parliamentary elections “a joke” and “shameful” and demanded the conduct of free, fair and transparent polls. He alleged the government and foreigners wanted the elections to be rigged and full of fraud like the previous elections.
Hekmatyar said the country’s current situation needed creation of a joint front which could bring well-known figures with similar ideology together to mutually take decisions regarding major issues.
“No sensible person can stay silent over the ongoing bloody conflict in the country,” he said, adding foreign forces, government troops and armed opponents were all involved in the bloodshed of innocent Afghans.
Hekmatyar said the GGNU would create a jirga comprised of impartial people who would create a comprehensive and inclusive strategy for peace.
Another option for peace, he said, could be a non-battle zone where the armed opponents could stay and the area is controlled by those acceptable to all.
Armed opponents would live there with complete immunity in this area, suggested Hekmatyar.
Wolesi Jirga election
The HIA leader said the government and foreigners wanted to pave the ground for fraud in the upcoming parliamentary elections as they did in the past.
“The poll results may create many problems and the government may not be able to solve them, this is not an election but a shameful game, dirty hands and a dirty plan are behind it,” he said.
He criticized the postponement of district council polls and said the district council election was important for holding a Loy Jirga (Grand Council).
“Elections are useless if political parties are not allowed to participate, such polls are used to deceive people and designed the way so political parties could not participate or observe it,” he said.
He added many political parties had shared their plans with foreign and local organizations, but the government and foreigners opposed their plan under the pretext of time shortage.
He said in the current election system a candidate was declared winner for receiving 300 votes and failed for receiving more than 20,000 votes.
He said in their peace agreement with the government, both sides agreed on a new election system and giving HIA representatives part in election bodies, but the government did not implement the agreement, Hekmatyar said.
About the number of voters the IEC has registered, the HIA leader said the commission’s claim of registering 9.5 million voters was a lie and even four million people could not participate in the upcoming Wolesi Jirga polls.
He criticized the current election system and said the system needed to be changed and they would struggle for that.
Talking to the meeting, Hekmatyar saidL “I believe you can win the upcoming presidential election if you remain united as the Grand Gathering of National Unity (GGNU) and make a strong solidarity, let’s do this and make a national solidarity, also choose a single ticket for the presidential poll.”
He said there were many alternate plans with the GGNU including choosing one candidate for upcoming presidential election, inviting political parties to agree on a single candidate or parties in two or three coalitions choose separate candidates.
Sayed Hamid Gilani, head of the Mahaz-I-Milli party who also attended the meeting, expressed his concern over the current situation of the country and said all parties and politicians should agree on a comprehensive plan and rescue the country from its security and political crisis.
He said some politicians wanted to create differences between different ethnic groups.
Stana Gul Shirzad, head of Afghan Millat party, also spoke on the occasion and said the Taliban should be given a chance and time to participate in upcoming presidential poll.
He said if the Taliban wanted a provisional government, their demand should be accepted.