By Shadi Khan Saif
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, chief of the Hezb-e-Islami party, on Sunday addressed a huge political rally in the war-ravaged country’s southeastern Khost province attended by thousands of his followers.
The veteran leader in his speech underlined the importance of free, fair and timely elections for the parliament, and equal share in government and development projects for all Afghans.
Referring to the ‘Greater Paktia’ region that comprises Khost, Paktia and Paktia provinces -- home to different Pashtoon tribes -- Hekmatyar said it has long been deprived of its due role for years.
“There are ‘sovereign islands of power’ in the country…This trend must come to an end”, without directly referring to his main political rival Jamiat-e-Islami party, he said.
The Jamiat-e-Islami has been enjoying power in Afghanistan since for the past 16 years thanks to the support by the U.S. for it in toppling the Taliban regime.
“Tribe of Greater Paktia deserve more than Panjshir…,” he said, referring to one of the smallest province north of Kabul that holds substantial share in all quarters of the government due to its connection with the JI party.
Hekmatyar also renewed his offer for mediation and urged the Taliban and the Haqqani Network to join peace process with the government.
In June, following his landmark return after some 20 years of self-imposed exile, the former Mujahedeen leader reaffirmed his support for the government in Kabul led by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, with whom he inked the peace deal in September last year.
The 69-year-old now resides next to the headquarters of his political party in the heart of Kabul, and is actively campaigning for the forthcoming parliamentary elections due in June next year.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.