KABUL (Pajhwok): Mohammad Hakim Torsan, a would-be presidential election hopeful, has criticised the performance of previous regimes and says the national unity government failed in its term to ensure security and work for people’s wellbeing.
Failures on political, social, economic, security, anti-corruption fronts and the migration of youth are other factors Torsan says he is worried about.
Currently working as a political and military affairs analyst and head of the Afghanistan Civil Legal and Research Network, Torsan is going to contest the 2019 presidential polls.
Also a candidate in the previous presidential election, he said committed and honest individuals who had strategies to pull the country out of its crises were part of his team.
During in exclusive interview, Torsan lashed out at former president Hamid Karzai and current President Ashraf Ghani and added: “So-called tribesmen, jihadi leaders and spies of foreign countries were part of Ghani and Karzai administrations.”
He said President Ghani was hijacked by individuals who had no good background. They gave the president wrong tips and restricted him from meeting prominent individuals, Torsan claimed.
Team and election preparation
Torsan said he has acquired the information bundle from the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and would formally nominate himself as a candidate soon.
Referring to his electoral team, he said Dr. Nader Shah Ahmadzai would be his running mate as first deputy president and discussion for the second deputy was ongoing.
“We want to bring together committed and patriotic persons who have mercy in their hearts for the country and its people and have never been involved in land grabbing, corruption and spying.”
Chief Executive Position
Torsan termed the Chief Executive Post as against the Constitution and added it was incepted following the political deal between then presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah.
“We should move ahead in line with the Constitution, the Chief Executive Post is not part of our manifesto and any move in this regard is against the Constitution. I am now and in the past remained a strong opponent of the Chief Executive Post.”
Prime Minister Post
Mohammad Hakim Torsan, in response to a question whether he will agree with the Jamiat-i-Islami party on creating a prime minister post in its presidential ticket, said, “I wonder why politicians do not refer to the Constitution, our system and government is presidential, and there is no mention of a prime minister in the Constitution.”
He warned the addition of the prime minister post to the government before the presidential election would be premature. Torsan asked candidates to make such a decision in a Loya Jirgaand after the elections.
Pointing to the decision of Grand National Alliance, he said that such decisions were against the Constitution. He said the country’s interests and the Constitution were always trampled upon by such groups and they once again plan to do so.
Performance of the unity government
Torsan called the national unity government under President Ashraf Ghani as “one of the most unsuccessful governments in the history of Afghanistan” and said that the current government still faced a lot of political, economic, security, social and corruption problems.
About insecurity in the country, he said: “We lost a major part of Afghanistan territory over the past few years, currently insurgents control around 60 percent of the country’s soil, but the government is doing nothing to recapture it.”
He said a large number of Afghan youth had left the country while hundreds of others lost their lives in different incidents due to the government’s poor performance.
“Neither former president Hamid Karzai neither Ashraf Ghani did good to our people and the country; the looting, anarchism and barbarism that developed in Karzai’s government continues under the current government,” he said.
Ties with neighboring countries
Torsan said he would consider the country’s and people’s interests in relations with foreign countries and he would also ask foreigners to respect Afghanistan’s interest.
“If I won, I will not let any country interfere in our domestic affairs and I will neither allow my government and political processes to interfere in other countries’ affairs,” he said.
Reforms in election commissions
Hakim Torsan, while pointing to the performance of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), said, “We witnessed how the Wolesi Jirga elections faced many problems, the elections were against the Constitution, weak managers cannot manage presidential elections.”
He said the IEC worked under influence of the Presidential Palace and some other powerful figures. He said he did not believe the commission would be able to handle the presidential poll.
Torsan said managing presidential election was a difficult job. “Members of election commissions play their role making the fate of Afghans and they should ignore political, religious and tribal issues and should not violate the rights of Afghans”, he said.
Withdrawal of Foreign Troops
Torsan termed the presence of donors’ countries as an urgent need in the current situation of the country and said no government could make a decision about withdrawal of foreign troops in the current situation.
He added first of all he would clean up the power corridors from corrupt powerful individuals and then will make a decision about the withdrawal of foreign forces.
He said he would not decide about the foreign troops pullout as long as it was necessary to equip and assist the Afghan armed forces.
Peace Process
Torsan said the peace negotiation process has been ongoing since Dr. Najibullah’s government and that the NUG and the pervious government had no achievement regarding the peace process.
He said the government had been discussing the peace process with provincial armed men instead of tribal elders and influential figures.
He further said he would set the Taliban a six-month deadline for peace negotiation and if they did not reconcile, then steps would be taken to beat them.
Coalition with other electoral tickets 
When asked whether he would join any other electoral ticket or not? Torsan said: “I am seriously telling that I’m the winner, even president Ghani and all other candidates know this and I will not deal with any powerful in this regard.”
Continuing his speech, he said Wolesi Jirga candidates who fraudulently found their way to the legislature would be unseated and introduced to the judicial organs.
After winning the presidential election, he would remove all security walls around the Presidential Palace.