‘President promoting personal interest’
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai, pushing the US to support a presidential contender of his choice, is trying to delay signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), analysts and lawmakers say.
Addressing the consultative Loya Jirga on Thursday, Karzai said the BSA, even if approved by the consultative Loya Jirga and ratified by the parliament, would be signed after the 2014 presidential and provincial council elections.
He says: “We want a timeframe. We want our elections to be held peacefully. If the ballots are not held peacefully, then the US and the West will sit pretty and the nation will hold me responsible for conducting a manipulated vote.”
In the absence of cooperation from the US and neighbous, he acknowledged, his administration could not conduct the polls in a peaceful manner. “I want these elections to be held in a respectable way, allowing the nation to vote for a candidate of its choice in an environment free of fear.”
A Kandahar lawmaker in the Wolesi Jirga, Shakiba Hashmi, said it was absolutely clear from the president’s speech that he wanted to win Washington’s support to his presidential contender.
“If Karzai does not want signing the pact, what is the need for convening the Loya Jirga? A fortune has been spent on arranging the ongoing jirga,” she argued.
Fazlur Rahman Orya, the National Coalition of Afghanistan (NCA) spokesman, said President Karzai was out to serve and secure his personal interest -- as was demonstrated by his speech.
Speaking to Pajhwok Afghan News, he claimed: “Karzai desires transparent elections but at the same time he wants the US to back the contender of his choice.”
But political analyst Nauman Dost said the president had made clear that he did not want to support any particular presidential contender. His neutrality was central to the vote’s credibility, he concluded.
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