President Hamid Karzai assumed his new presidential term with promises to stamp the rampant corruption from his administration, stimulate economic development and bring peace to the country. In doing so, he pledged to work with political actors, groups and parties.
But over the last two years he afforded to squander the opportunity and time and engage in inter-agency battles. IMF suspended its aid money for development projects because of the corruption issue, Taliban militants were able to kill and assassinate some high profile and prominent figures of this land and 30% of the population continue to live under poverty line.
The recent trends show that president Karzai, due to his authoritarian actions and flawed policies, is losing public support and the backing of major political parties and alliances in the country. New political coalitions are emerging and being developed to provide alternative policies to move Afghanistan out of the ongoing crisis.
Amid confusion and isolation, president Karzai convened the Traditional Loya Jirga to befriend some tribal elders, Mullahs and other hand-picked folks to shift the public attention from the issues of widespread corruption and ambiguous assassination of the head of High Peace Council to the strategic partnership agreement with the United States of America, on which there is already a relative consensus in the country because Afghans know that they still need international support to fund and equip their army and police, keep the cruel insurgents at bay, fight back external threats, and more importantly move the process of "democratic governance and development" forward.
It is said that the Jirga participants would provide advices to the president on what initiatives to take to move forward the reconciliation process with Taliban and other insurgent groups and also provide advices on the strategic agreement. But many of those attending the Jirga do not know the agreement and lack the political acumen required to advise on issues like negotiation with Taliban or Pakistan.
It was clear from the fact that the Jirga members spent a whole of one morning to discuss the omission of committee No. 39 and its replacement with committee No. 41 just because of a damn illogical superstition. This was as funny and embarrassing as president Karzai's tale of calling himself as lion.
Today's Afghan youths want employment, transparency in government agencies, freedom to movement and peace. They want the government to develop and provide clear policies to respond to these demands and address these issues.
Calling Afghans as lions will heal none of the pains of this nation. This is just a demagogic speech aimed to hoodwink people. We believe that the time to enchant people through some epic tales is gone. President Karzai could engage people, political groups, civil society organizations and media in his traditional Loya Jirga and his own superficial opening address but he must bear in mind that he will never win public satisfaction as long as he continues to fail to address corruption and improve his government's efficiency.
By wasting money and time on traditional Loya Jirga, the president earned further disapproval from political parties, alliances, parliamentary groups and civil society organizations. Perhaps, it was extremely exciting for him to see his hand-picked participants clapped and put their hands together for him as he delivered his melodramatic and hour-long speech but on the Facebook pages and blogs it is president Karzai that is being slammed for playing with public consciousness. It shows that there is a big gulf between what president Karzai wants and want Afghan youths demand.