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"I will spare nothing to serve my people": Ahmad Shah Ramazan

"I will spare nothing to serve my people": Ahmad Shah Ramazan

Aug 20, 2011 - 14:16

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): "I will spare nothing, neither force nor money, to get the legal affairs of my constituents resolved in the relevant government institutions," says Ahmad Shah Ramazan, a lower house MP from the northern province of Balkh.

Ramazan said his doors were open to his constituents. President Hamid Karzai appointed him to the Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon during the first Parliamentary term to fill the seat of his older brother Ashraf, who was assassinated after winning a seat in Balkh.

He said he does his best to get officials to meet the legal demands of his constituents, adding: "I even pressured the minister."

He says his constituents mostly ask for the construction of roads, clinics, schools, and other educationinfo-icon-related matters.

Ramazan was born in Balkh province 52 years ago to a family of traders. His grandfather Shah Hussein, his father Ramazan and his elder brother Ashraf Ramazan were nationally known Afghan businessmen. He graduated from Bakhtar high school in provincial capital Mazar-i-Sharif and received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from a university in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. 

He spent most of the last two decades as a businessman and has traveled extensively, visiting 40 countries including the US, UK, Turkey, France, Spain, Belgium, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Egypt and neighbouring countries.

A native Dari speaker, Ramazan can also speak Russian, Uzbek, a little Pashtoinfo-icon and English.

He says of his family: "We have always been good to people and done no wrong to anyone, but none of my elders reached age 43, because they all were killed by unknown enemies before they reached that age," he said.

After his brother Ashraf was assassinated, Ramazan returned from Tashkent and, with loyalists and relatives, blocked the Kabul-Mazar highway for three days in protest.

President Hamid Karzai then called him to Kabul and appointed him a member of the Wolesi Jirga.

Ramazan owns tissue paper factories in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif and runs hotels and restaurants called Hamsafar, Marco Polo, and Ashraf Ramazan. "I personally don’t need the income of the restaurants; I have built them for my guests, who are all Afghans."

Ramazan does not like music. He believes spending time with and talking to friends is the best kind of entertainment.

He likes to watch mafia movies so that he can understand how the mafia kill people, how they killed his brother and father, and how he can he safeguard himself against them.

Feeling his life threatened in Afghanistaninfo-icon, Ramazan has 21 security guards. He said: "Some leaders in Afghanistan don’t want to have rivals and threaten lives of people like me. Everyone knows who these leaders are."

He has turned to politics because of the demands of his constituents and therefore he must serve them, he reiterated. "The current Parliament is the best so far," he said.

He called the special court President Karzai convened to adjudicate the results of last year's disputed Parliamentary election illegal and said it should be dissolved.

On August 10, Karzai dissolved the special court and referred the final decision on the results to the Independent Election Commission, which is expected to announce its decision this week.

Foreign forces must stay until the Afghans can stand on their own, he said, adding that he worries Afghanistan's regional neighbours will increase their meddling in Afghanistan once the international community departs. "Afghans must stop daydreaming and use the opportunity of the presence of the foreign troops the best way they can," he said.

"The current government must be dissolved, Talibaninfo-icon and Hekmatyar must be brought in and elections conducted. The Taliban and Hekmatyar must take an oath promising to stop creating headaches for Afghanistan." He said if this happens there will be a breakthrough for current problems in Afghanistan.

He said he paid for a series of mass weddings for 563 couples, and that was the reason he won 19,614 votes in the second Parliamentary election to retain his seat in the lower house. He spent three million afghanis during that campaign, he explained, adding that he has no links with any armed groups.

He is member of the Parliamentary group Sada-i-Adalat, which means "Voice of Justice."

Ramazan lives in a luxurious three-story house in the Kart-e-Char locality of Kabul. Most of his furniture and decorations are red.

Ramazan is the father of three children and likes football, volleyball, fitness and swimming, but says politics has left him no time for his hobbies.



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