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The mantra of first

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Miracles seldom take place in the power corridors of Kabul, the recent statement of President Ashraf Ghani about the Wolesi Jirga and the district council elections could augur well for the nation if national consensus was built. The government’s will to hold the elections this year could be a forerunner to strengthening democracy. However, the exact polls date is still unknown. There is also confusion that whether the government would honor its words regarding convening the constitutional Loya Jirga if the polls were delayed further. Security affairs analysts and opposition parties are also wondering that whether the government will be able to kick off the polling process if the prevailing security situation persists.

President Ghani said that the elections would take place between summer and autumn. The National Unity Government (NUG) has to convene the Loya Jirga before September 2016. The NUG will mark its second birthday in September. The leaders pledged to hold the Loya Jirga within two years to amend parts of the Constitution and legalize the new form of the government (likely parliamentary system).

Amid this confusion, the Afghanistan Protection and Stability Council (APSC) asked the NUG to hold the elections in spring or summer because the delay would result in postponement of the Loya Jirga. APSC which is a major opposition party in the country has emphasized that the timely election is essential. Indeed, timely elections are important but the NUG and the APSC should build consensus over the polls and the Loya Jirga in order to end this confusion. The mantra of first the elections or the Loya Jirga will not help the country because there are a wide array of problems to be addressed. Insecurity is on the top because the rival Taliban factions have ironed out their differences and the Daesh is posing serious threats. People are concerned more about their safety than issues of pure political nature.

For the nation, the incompetence of the leaders to improve security situation is beyond belief. People are looking for signs of security, economic and human rights improvement over the next few months. As the nation pursues the dream of stable Afghanistan, it could not afford another deadlock or crisis. Conflict over the elections and Loya Jirga schedule will weaken our ability to respond to the existing threats. When troops and civilians are losing their lives in the ongoing war and feeling the pain, our leaders shall listen to public and address their grievances. When the leaders are asking civilians and security forces to sacrifice and defend the country, they all shall also contribute to that effort.