Opposition party says fair polls impossible
KABUL (PAN): The United National Front, renewing its opposition to foreign military bases on Afghan soil, said on Saturday that holding transparent elections appeared impossible in the prevailing circumstances.
With insecurity increasing across the country, a system put in place in the wake fraudulent polls would create new challenges instead of bringing stability to Afghanistan, the opposition alliance warned.
Haji Ahmad Farid, a member of the Front’s Leadership Council, told a news conference in Kabul that the situation was not favourable for conducting an inclusive and fair election.
In the given circumstances, authorities should focus their efforts on restoration of peace instead of holding flawed elections, he believed. “The opening of the Taliban’s office in Qatar offers a unique peace opportunity that should not be missed.”
Negotiations and national consensus were the best way of dealing with the problems facing the country, Farid stressed, suggesting peace parleys should be conducted through a neutral group.
“As the country is faced with insecurity, I think any national consensus should be aimed to restore peace, not to promote individual interests. Some circles are evoking this in an effort to perpetuate themselves in power,” he observed.
President Hamid Karzai recently proposed two or three consensus candidates should contest the April 2014 presidential vote. He said the contestants should be sons of soil, imbued with tolerance, respect for press freedom and the courage to resist foreign pressures.
The opposition leader slammed the Karzai administration as a puppet regime with no authority to take independent decisions on the country’s future. "Peace talks are held between parties to a dispute."
In order to ensure the continuity of the Qatar process, an interim government of people’s choice be established to pave the ground for the installation of a new administration, Farid continued.
Whiling reiterating aversion to foreign bases, he warned the presence of international forces would never bring about security and peace to the country.
"If anyone thinks that foreign forces can restore peace, it’s a fantasy ... if it were true, Afghanistan would have been stabilised 12 years ago," Farid argued.
Wahid Muzhda, the Front spokesman, hailed creation of the Taliban’s office in Qatar: “The Qatar process is a positive step and I stoutly support it."
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