Heads of some political parties and movements and members of parliament and residents came together in Kabul on Thursday to announce the launch of a new political movement and discuss ways to end the war and ensure sustainable peace.
The new movement “the Grand Assembly of National Unity” includes major political parties and movements – including National Islamic Front of Afghanistan (Mahaz-e Milli Islami Afghanistan), Afghan Millat Party, Musharekat-e-Milli Party, National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan, the Jamiat Integration Council, Hizb-e-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and other parties and organizations.
The session, which started on Thursday, will continue for another two days and the leadership of the new movement will be decided on.
The first day included discussions on political issues, peace and war in the country and delegates made suggestions to government on the topics discussed.
Addressing the event, Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said a change in the system was part of the agreement which he signed with government when he joined the peace process.
He said government’s efforts to bring militants to the peace tables have failed and that dozens of lives are being sacrificed in the war every day.
The ceasefire between warring parties, resuming the unconditional talks, agreement on establishment of an interim government and setting a schedule for withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan were suggestions made by Hekmatyar on behalf of the new movement.
“Every day, more than 300 people are killed in Afghanistan, sometimes by foreign forces and sometimes by government forces and sometimes by anti-government armed militants, or in barbaric explosions in cities and even in mosques and sacred places,” Hekmatyar said.
“Let’s move towards a government where all political and military opposition will see themselves in it and would say that we are involved in fate and I can determine the fate of the country,” said Sayed Ishaq Gailani, head of the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan.
Hekmatyar said that the upcoming election would be riddled with fraud but he stressed that there was no option but to hold elections considering the current situation.
“Without an active and effective presence of (political) parties, elections will be a vain and ridiculous games (played) which are used by powerful men for deceiving the people,” he said.
“This election should not take us towards an ethnic war. If it happens, there won’t be any John Kerry to come and make peace between us,” said Sanagul Shirzad, head of the Afghan Millat Party.
The upcoming parliamentary elections are scheduled for October 20 in which the Independent Election Commission has pledged to use the newly purchased biometric system.
The devices for the system are being sent to all 20,053 polling stations in 33 provinces across the country.
Insisting On Unity
Delegates at the event meanwhile stressed the need for unity and tolerance among Afghans, saying that it is the only way to lead the country towards stability.
“We will not overcome problems without having real unity in the country and among the people of Afghanistan. These problems are like viruses which are eliminating us,” said Abdul Wadood Sabit, member of the Jamiat Integration Council.
“I cannot see any way except reliance on Allah’s order which is unity,” said Sayed Hamid Gailani, head of the National Islamic Front of Afghanistan.