The former prime minster of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, spoke with students at the department of political science on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012.
About the Speaker
According to Wikipedia, during the presidential tenure of Burhanuddin Rabbani, Mr. Ahmadzai served as the acting prime minister of Afghanistan between 1995-96.
He even unsuccessfully ran as an independent candidate in the 2004 Afghan presidential election supporting an Islamic system of government.
He is an engineer by training and has also studied in the United States.
Commenting on the current socio-political situation of Afghanistan, he said the American “occupation” of Afghanistan as a result of its war on terror has made Afghanistan unstable and unsafe. Human Right violations are a common occurrence he said. Furthermore, he called the Karzai government corrupt and puppets of the Americans.
On the question of democracy he said that the entire population of Afghanistan is Muslim, and naturally the Afghanis want an Islamic system of governance and not democracy. Democracy, he said, gives people the freedom to be un-Islamic. He gave the example of alcohol consumption, which he said is clearly haraam in Islam, but democracy can give you the freedom to partake in such a practice and that is unacceptable to the people of Afghanistan.
However, he did say, he believes that all segments of the population should be represented in a national assembly. How that national assembly will function, is something he did not elaborate on.
On the issue of women rights he said, women’s education is essential for any society and he is in complete favor of women’s education. Similarly, he believes women should have the right to choose their husbands. Moreover, he went on to say, all of these rights are guaranteed to women under Islam; however, there are many customs and traditional practices in Afghan society that are not Islamic.
On being asked whether he saw the current fight against the American occupation as a Jihad, a holy war, he replied that just in the way our fight against the Russians was a Jihad, this fight against the Americans is a Jihad too.
Then on the question of India’s role in Afghanistan, he said, we appreciate all the help we receive from India. India has been good to us. But, we will not entertain any help offered to us which might be conditional on acting against our neighboring country Pakistan. They are our allies and we will not side with India against Pakistan.
Mr. Ahmadzai is in India for medical treatment.