Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on Tuesday lashed out at government over the election process and implied it was already rigging the polls.
Addressing a press conference in Kabul, he also said government has destabilized areas in the country for its own benefit in order to ensure people aren’t able to vote in the scheduled October 20 elections.
On the issue of district council elections, Hekmatyar says he wants to know who made the decision to postpone these elections.
He said money spent by government leaders would be better spent on salaries for district council members.
He had been referring the issue of district council members not being paid salaries. As a result, dozens of districts around the country ended up with no candidates.
This led to the IEC putting these elections on hold.
Hekmatyar accuses government of not wanting to hold transparent elections. He also questions why six million refugees are being prevented from voting. He said government told the IEC that refugees cannot vote.
On a more personal level, Hekmatyar slammed government for not sticking to its peace agreement with Hizb-e-Islami.
He said at the time of the signing of the accord, government promised the group would have a say in elections. This has not however happened, he said.
He said the group had no intention of destroying government but simply wanted to ensure transparent and fair elections are held.
Hekmatyar stated that they had approached the international community about their concerns but were told it was an “Afghan matter and that the foreign community would not interfere in the elections.”
The Hizb-e-Islami leader said government is sinking in corruption and states government is a "corporation".
On the issue of the biometric system, he said that government has agreed to incorporate the system and that a budget of $15 million has been approved.
According to him, political parties will be briefed on the system within the next few days.
He is insistent that elections be held on time and said it is government's duty to ensure this.
Hekmatyar states that 90 percent of the people of Afghanistan do not have a representative in parliament. He says the current election system being used in the country is used nowhere else in the world and is being imposed on the people.
Earlier in his speech he accused government and the IEC of wasting time and for having used the excuse that there was no time to implement a biometric system. He says political parties demand parliamentary elections be held on time.
Hekmatyar raises the issue of exclusion of political parties in the election process stating without their participation a strong incoming government would not be possible.
Hekmatyar says the independent election commission has been formed by government and that opposition groups have been deprived of taking part in elections Afghanistan.
Hizb-e-Islami and the Afghan government signed a peace agreement with Afghan government in September 2016.
The return to Afghanistan of Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar – who signed a peace deal with Afghan government last year – was on Saturday met with mixed reaction among analysts, businessmen and university lecturers.
Hematyar returned to Kabul early last year, after 20 yearsl.
The civil war and the looting of public property in the late 1970s after Dr Najibullah’s government was toppled were the main issues that sparked criticism.
However, today the people have a different point of view on the consequences of possible disagreements between leaders of the country.
“Things are now very different. For instance, today [Abdul Rab Rasul] Sayyaf and other mujahedeen leaders who are in Afghanistan have joined the government. They respect the peace process, governance and the Constitution. They love their country and always have stood against the enemies,” said Mawla Mohammad Paiman, a local businessman.
Meanwhile, there are concerns of a possible increase in the country’s problems following Hekmatyar’s move to join the peace process and government.
“It will not be in Afghans favor and we will face more disorder and problems in the future if political disagreements between government and Hizb-e-Islami are increased instead of being resolved completely. If this happens, we will experience the situation which we did two decades ago,” said Hekmatullah Shahbaz, a university lecturer.