KABUL (Pajhwok): Presidential runner Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on Thursday said he would consult religious scholars about government’s affairs and his government would be based on the concepts of Afghaniyat (Afghan-hood) and Islamiyat (Muslim-hood) if he won the June 14 presidential election runoff.
Ghani, locked in a head-to-head race with Abdullah Abdullah, another major presidential candidate, was pledged support by thousands of religious scholars, former jihidis and influential figures coming all the way from various parts of the country to Kabul.
The former World Bank economist finished second behind Abdullah in the field of eight presidential candidates in the April 5 elections, when none could obtain the magic 50 plus one percent of the votes required for an outright majority.
Maulvi Hafiz Ahmad, speaking on behalf of religious leaders, told the gathering they would support Ashraf Ghani’s team and called on the candidate to give greater representation to ulema in his government in order to bring at par the country’s affairs with religious beliefs and principles.
Ghani said Afghanistan once served a centre of Islamic thinking in the course of its history and the country should be once again turn into that centre.
“I spent a major part of my life learning Islamic values. Islamiyat and Afghaniyat will be the pillars of our government,” he added.
If became president, he said, he would work to improve spiritual and material status of religious scholars and would consult them on government’s affairs.
He promised to establish big religious seminaries across the country in order the Afghans avoid seeking religious education abroad, saying there would be no distance between universities, schools, madrasas and the Presidential Palace.
Ashraf Ghani said his jump into the presidential fray was aimed at serving the country not gaining power, wealth or status.
He said his team was the composition of the heirs of real jihad and they would not stay calm until they had resolved the nation’s problems.
“Some people visited me and said give us this ministry and that province, but I refused because I will not cut deals that’s why we are mistreated. To every insult we just say Salam.”
Ashraf Ghani said peace would be brought to the country with the help of religious scholars and his government would present itself for accountability to the nation after every six months.
Former president and jihadi leader Hazrat Sibghatullah Mujeddedi told the gathering that the announcement of support to Ghani by religious leaders ensured his victory in the elections.
He said Ghani was an impartial and highly educated person, appealing the Afghans to vote for him.
“Some time ago I talked about Istikhara (a prayer recited when in need of guidance from Allah on an issue), but some people ridiculed this. Istikhara is Sunnah (practices of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), and those who make mockery of Sunnah are faithless.”
Mujeddedi had said he announced support to Ghani after reciting Istikhara. However, he did not name anyone who ridiculed his remarks.
Mahaz-i-Milli group leader Pir Syed Ahmad Gilani said Ghani was a suitable person for the presidency and the people should vote for him.
Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan Councils Alliance leader Qazi Amin Waqad told the gathering that Ghani was a candidate of the nation and Abdullah was of the candidate of a party. If the nation won, it could accommodate the party, but if the party won, it could not accommodate the nation, he remarked.
Meanwhile, some Wolesi Jirga members and female civil society activists voiced support for Ghani at a gathering in southeastern Khost province.
One of the participants, Sahira Sharif, a lawmaker from Khost, women had the same right as men to participate in elections and vote for a candidate of their choice. She urged women to actively take part in the runoff election and vote for Ghani.