Qayyum Karzai to run for presidencyBy Bashir Ahmad Naadim Jun 12, 2012 - 17:58
KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): An influential member of the Karzai family said on Tuesday they had nominated a brother of the incumbent president to run for the country’s top office in 2014.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Mehmood Karzai said his brother Qayyum Karzai, if elected, would prove the best option to replace the sitting president.
Asked whether the president would support Qayum, he replied that their nominee needed the entire country’s backing, not only from his tribe.
“He plans a swing through the provinces to win the confidence of all Afghans,” Mehmood said, recalling Karzai had been voted into power, not only by Pashtuns in the south and southeast, but also by those in northern Afghanistan.
“People vote for the families and individuals whose hands are clean and had no role in war crimes,” he remarked. “People have faith in Qayyum Jan and I have good relations with people. They are looking to us and want one of us to stand for the election.”
Mehmood did not name any political group or individual who would supported Qayyum’s candidacy, but said political parties in the country remained weak.
Qayyum, a former member of the Wolesi Jirga, had resigned after a prolonged absence from lower house sessions.
“It would be better if you ask Qayyum about his resignation. He had some problems and eventually resigned. There will be discussions about his character at local and foreign forums, but I don’t think there is anything worrisome about his personality,” Mehmood added.
He rejected allegations against him in a New York Times report, saying the the charges were part of a political conspiracy against their family. The NYT reported differences among members of the Karzai family and their involvement in Kabul Bank crisis and construction of a township in Kandahar City with Ministry of Defence funds.
“The paper’s officials are leftists who are against the US war on terrorism in Afghanistan. Therefore, they tend to question the war and bring a bad name to the Karzai family that has a key role in it,” he continued.
He alleged the country was full of land-grabbers and war criminals, but the influential US newspaper tended to ignore them.
About differences with his brother Shah Wali Karzai, he said the rift had been patched up. Of the Kabul Bank crisis, he said several banks in the world had collapsed, but no one had blamed stakeholders for that.
“Sher Khan had borrowed $400 million from the bank and he openly says that he would not return the money. But I often come under criticism for the loan I had long repaid with interest,” protested Mehmood, who previously owed about $16 million to the bank.
He blamed the crisis on the bank’s poor leadership, the finance ministry and an American firm overseeing the bank’s affairs.
Mehmood said nearly 217 government officials had obtained loans from the bank, but no action had been taken against them so far.