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Editorial: Presidential polls

The National Unity Government is taking its last breaths as both the partners of “marriage of inconvenience” are going to face each others. Both President Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah have declared their mind of contesting schedule presidential elections. Beside these two around 15 have so far registered names with the Election Commission as aspirants. Amongst them head of Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan Gulbadin Hekmatyar, former National Security Advisor Haneef Atmar and ex-NDS chief Nabeel are prominent. Partners in the marriage of inconvenience- Ghani and Abdullah have contested against each others in 2014 polls but it caused a dispute and deadlock, which was later settled by the US mediators through floating the idea of National Unity Government. The outcomes of National Unity Government is before each and every one whereas Afghanistan returned to 90 like situation. The one-time disgruntled militants are now going ahead with re-grouping. A large number of those who returned from western world after empowering of ex-President Hamid Karzai in 2001, now are packing back. In recent past a number of important ministers and high ranking officials have quit the offices as they made disappointed with frequent changes in policies of the national unity government. The common people have also lost trust in government and US policies as well. In 2003-2004 at the time of Constitutional Loya Jirga, promises made regarding convening another Loya Jirga for addressing anomalies and amendments in the constitutions but all such promises have been turned to a deaf ear. The opposition resistance forces of Taliban are now insisting on derailing of the democratic and political process and demanding a new interim government. But President Ghani has rejected the demand for new interim government. Now Doha-based Taliban have terminated the negotiation process with the US Special Envoy Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad. Going into preliminary list of the aspirants, fate of 2019 Presidential polls would not be different from 2014 polls, which has plunged the country into a shuttle-cock play between the two. But this time the Taliban demands and contest of Hekmatyar, Atmar and Nabeel like persons could be considered alarming. Before of campaign, now unrest is on rise amongst the countrymen, who wants peace and tranquility. The US Special Envoy Khalilzad in a recent tweet message declared “peace in Afghanistan” as his top priority. On such grounds, the power-lusted leadership needs to read writing on the walls- whereas in each and every nook of war devastated Afghanistan, they will see nothing else “peace and peace.” Though continuation of democratic process is responsibility of each and every Afghan leader but they are bound to save Afghanistan of plunging into further crises. In this respect, all of them must keep in mind resolving of issues and building up consensus through rich Afghan traditions of Jirga’s and reconciliation.

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