Karzai promises transparent elections
In his last address to the joint session of parliament that entered the fourth year of its constitutional five-year term, he reaffirmed his resolve to conduct transparent and free presidential and provincial elections.
“The elections could be transparent only if foreigners avoid meddling in the process. I once again remind foreigners any interference in the polls would have bad consequences,” the president said.
While his government would never allow meddling in election affairs, the two poll panels would remain neutral, he said, asking media outlets to be fully impartial. He pledged support to a president elected by the people.
"We will use all our resources to ensure the elections are free, fair and transparent. Our forces will provide a secure environment for the people to take part in the process," he promised.
Karzai alleged the last 12 years of war had been imposed on Afghans. Afghan forces, now responsible for the security of 93 percent of the country, were capable of defending their motherland after the withdrawal of NATO troops later this year, said the president.
The start of concrete peace talks with the Taliban remained his administration’s precondition for signing the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US, he said. "We want the BSA, but peace is fundamental for Afghanistan."
Ample progress had been made in areas of freedom of speech, legislation, economy, women’s rights, education, international relations, national unity and peace over the past 12 years, he claimed. He hoped his successor would protect the achievements and work diligently for peace and unity.
Karzai listed the creation of High Peace Council (HPC), holding the Consultative Peace Jirga, trilateral dialogue with Pakistan and Turkey, as well as Islamabad and London as part of his government’s struggle for stability.
About recent attacks in Quetta, he said that terrorism was a common threat to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The two countries should jointly combat the scourge, the president suggested. Peace could be ensured if the neighbours respected each other’s sovereignty, he believed.
“My message to the leaders of Pakistan is that Afghanistan has never submitted to any country’s dictates. Always under pressure from foreigners, Afghanistan has not surrendered to Britain, America or Russia,” he said.
The United States and Pakistan could help Afghanistan in bringing peace and stability. “The US should honestly cooperate with us in restoring peace. I have repeatedly stressed the need for targetting militant hideouts and cracking down on supporters of terrorism.”
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