(Short note on a trip to Bamyan and Daikundi provinces)
Social and economic developments are a complicated and time-consuming process. Reaching development in its modern concept is in need of long time and certain conditions, in Afghanistan in general and central region of Hazarajat [mostly Hazara populated provinces] in particular. It is believed that three processes should be passed: First, political development in the concept of establishing a stable political system based on the rule of law and will of the people. Second, cultural development in the concept of evolution in cultural and social beliefs, mindsets and approaches. Economic development as the outcome of political and cultural developments is the third issue. These are the issues experienced in many countries with different environmental contexts. Today, there are many challenges and deep-seated obstacles before all the three aforementioned issues in Afghanistan. Likewise, development is affected by the general state in every nook and cranny of the country without exception. Similar to other provinces, deprivation and backwardness are rooted in the country’s disorder in Hazarajat mainly the issues such as continuous political and cultural disruptions and protracted war and violence. The most important issues are instability in the rule of a political system which had to be responsible, based on rule of law and void of discriminatory and ethnic tendencies that are rooted in long history. Despite the evolution took place within the past one and half decade, there is still not a broad national trust based on a national understanding. Hence, we should not claim where we are and what we have done. We need to go all the steps gradually and carefully and with strong will and determination to gain development.
Apart from these general issues, if we view the realities of Hazara community in general and Bamiyan and Daikundian provinces in particular, we will see a fundamental and unexpected change. I think Bamyan experienced the transition process well and very positively in the last 15 years. The seed of hope sowed in Bamyan province within the past years has grown into beautiful and gorgeous trees which will bear fruit in the near future. The people of the provincial capital and districts have reached a very good level of understanding and awareness and can well manage their own internal situation. Currently, Bamyan has come under the focus of all citizens, central government and even international institutions. The budget and development project of central government are more prominent for Bamyan than any other central regions and being implemented. As a young, hard-working and energetic provincial governor, Mr. Zahir has a great record within his two-year mission and justice suggests that everyone should appreciate his efforts.
The second issue I would like to stress regarding Bayman is that we all, mainly the authorities of Bamyan local government and honorable Bamyan residents, should be aware that the underlying principle of comprehensive development lies in human development which relies on (higher) education and Bamyan must not be let decline in this regard.
However, the situation is a bit different in Daikundi province. First, it is a nascent province which was established 13 years ago and started from nothing. That is to say, people were completely unaware of governmental management. Therefore, the amount of budget spent in these years in the province and the projects that have been implemented, although significant, still not tangible due to the wide range of deprivation and needs. Secondly, this province is neither located on transit or trade route nor geographically connected to any of the ring roads in the country. It lacks a basic and local airport. It is also far from its nearest neighboring province of Bamyan ten hours by car and one hour and twenty minutes by helicopter. Similarly, its distance from Kabul is about one day by car and one and half hour by helicopter. It lacks all kinds of mines and resources, too.
Despite all these facts, the bud of hope is bearing fruit in this province. Nili, as newly-established city, is flourishing. The master of the urban plan has been approved for its urban issues, and urban landmarks and new and colorful local and governmental buildings are emerging from the heart of its rugged and tall cliffs and seen among the old and ancient castles. A governmental institute of higher education building has been established on one of the top hills and women’s garden and their striking activities are seen on the other side. For the first time in this province, a ten-kilo meter asphalt road was inaugurated which is scheduled to be completed from the Qunaq pass to the center of Punjab - Bamyan over the next three years that will be a highly significant project for this province. What is more important is that today, especially after the establishment of this province, all, including small girls and boys, teenagers and youths raise their voice as, “We are not war-monger. We are in favor of peace and reconciliation and security. First provide us book and school and second connect us to other cities of our country”. These statements force tears of hope and enthusiasm in one’s eyes on the one hand and introduce the will and character of those people on the other hand.
Although Daikundi lacks road, airport and electricity, it has heroines who participate in social, cultural and political activities shoulder by shoulder with men. They are also involved in trade and economic affairs and send their children – who are dressed in disheveled and messy clothes – to school. Currently, a number of school and university students of this province compete with the students of the country’s major provinces. Likewise, male and female students of Daikundi province are studying in governmental and private universities at home, including Kabul, Herat, Qandahar, and Jalalabad, and abroad.
Some criticize that I had neither a significant project nor offered a package to my homeland during my trip in 20 July. But it should be noted that, while important projects were also officially launched by our various departments on this journey, the issue of inaugurating project was not in our agenda. Moreover, all government officials are not supposed to work or open project merely for their own birthplaces. On this trip, we sought to meet the people of the region on the thirteenth anniversary of the establishment of this province and invite a high-ranking government delegation, including six honorable ministers and a number of deputies and heads of departments, to the provincial capital for the first time so that more than ten key government agencies, which shoulder the responsibility of providing essential services, announce their plans in the presence of people, listen to people’s words and opinions, see and touch the region’s problems. In such a way, we would be able to arrange urgent priorities and the state’s short and long-term plans for Daikundi in an accurate and factual way. Therefore, I wholeheartedly appreciate all provincial officials and people in the region, and all the friends who provided the groundwork for this journey and the honorable people of Daikundi province who welcomed the government’s high delegation with open arms and great kindness. On the other hand, I feel extremely sad and sorry since I was not able to meet and have the guidance of personalities and active cultural and social groups, especially the great instructors and honorable religious scholars with a better chance and one-day opportunity. However, I am confident enough that the people’s demands will be pursued more seriously on the basis of the evaluations took place on this trip.