The need for HIG to show flexibility

Tuesday, 27 September 2016 03:33 Written by  Heart of asia Read 163 times

Although the Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) is not a major player in the ongoing Afghan conflict, the Afghan government agreed to reach a peace deal with the party as a step forward towards peace, a move which was warmly welcome by the war-weary people of Afghanistan. After months-long deliberations, the National Unity Government (NUG) and the HIG interlocutors finalized and struck the peace agreement, which will be endorsed and signed by President Ashraf Ghani and the head of the party and ex- Prime Minister, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.


Talking to the media, some HIG peace negotiators characterized and hyped the agreement as a historic achievement. As part of the media campaign, Dr.Ghairat Bahir, a member of the HIG peace negotiating team, implicitly apologized to the people of Afghanistan for, and regretted the group’s past activities. Following his remarks, the issue hit national headlines, and the people also welcome the group’s apology and regret for its past activities as a good step. While apology cannot heal the wounds of families who have lost their members and relatives during the internecine war, it was well received by the peace-thirsty people of Afghanistan as a favorable move.
However, the HIG peace envoy and Hekmatyar’s son rejected making an apology for its previous conducts. Habib Rahman Hekmatyar expressly said that the party would not apologize for its past actions because they have done nothing wrong to be sorry for. The reality is that the youth may not recall the activities of Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan during the civil war, but the history and the memories of elders are beset with them. Turning a blind eye to role of HIG as well as other political parties in the destruction of Kabul would mean covering the sun with two fingers.
Now that a step towards peace has been taken, the HIG should change its mind, and graciously accept the facts. If the government grants them judicial immunity for their past actions on behalf of the families of the victims, and the people also agree with that, its only reason is that the other political parties and groups who were also involved in the atrocities also enjoy impunity from prosecution. If they are exempted from transitional justice, all members of the HIG, including Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, should at least have the moral courage to regret their past actions, and apologize to the nation. They must realize that given their weak role in the ongoing war, the government and the people are not obliged to make peace with them at any cost.