Gulbuddin HekmatyarThe leader of the Hezb-e-Islami Party of Afghanistan, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, in a surprise move asked his party members to participate in the upcoming presidential elections.

Hekmatyar whose militnt outfit is fighting the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan, had previously opposed the elections in the presence of foreign forces.

“Convey to Hizb-e-Islami members to take part in the provincial councils’ elections and support those candidates who are either related to us or have a positive view about the party,” Hekmatyar said in a letter which was obtained by the Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune.

Hekmatyar in his letter which was forwarded to Hezb-e-Islami leaders in all 34 provinces said, “Defeat and prevent bad people from entering the assemblies.”

“Hizb-e-Islami is not directly taking part in the elections due to the presence of occupation forces but will exercise the right of vote to get those candidates elected who are close to our party and ideology,” Hekmatyar added.

The decision by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is likely to boost the democratic process in Afghanistan and analysts believe it is designed to seek a future political role for Hizb-e-Islami.

Qutbuddin Hilal, who is a senior Hezb-e-Islmi party member member, is among the 11 presidential candidates who will run for the upcoming presidential elections.

Hekmatyar’s decision will further isolate the Taliban whose chief Mullah Omar rejected the elections as a waste of time in his last Eid message.

Author

  • Ahmad Shah Ghani Zada is the former Senior Editor of Khaama Press Agency who managed and overlooked the English edition. He is occasionally contributing stories to the agency.