Since Afghanistan’s Constitution bars a president from running for office for a third term, Hamid Karzai’s brothers are now seeking a larger political role.
No formal announcements have been made as yet, but the Afghan media has recently been flooded with reports that President Karzai’s elder brother, Qayum Karzai, will be a candidate in the war-torn country’s 2014 presidential polls.
Mahmud Karzai, another brother of the president, confirmed in a few TV interviews recently that Qayum is a candidate and will announce his nomination soon.
Senior non-Pashtun leaders have been involved in consultations to agree upon a candidate.
If the non-Pashtun leaders are successful in finalising a candidate, then the Afghan presidential elections will be a real test for the politically divided Pashtuns, Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group.
Mahmud says he will support his brother Qayum in the elections. Mahmud’s announcement to give up his US nationality was seen as a move to send a message to both partners and political rivals that the Karzais will play a major powerbroker role in the polls and that their influence will not wane after 2014.
If the brothers decide to stay away from the elections, then the Karzai team would go for the second option, which is to field their trusted man for the position – that person could be Omar Daudzai, the Afghan ambassador in Islamabad and a close confidante of President Karzai.
“If Qayum Karzai does not run for office than the president’s viewpoint will be important and after consultations we will field a trusted man, who has international recognition,” Mahmud told Ariana TV.
Several Afghan sources have confirmed to The Express Tribune that a discussion is going on in Karzai’s inner circles to appoint a person who also has religious credentials, in order to be acceptable to Islamic countries after the Nato withdrawal.
Daudzai served as Chief of Staff at the President Office before he was designated Ambassador to Pakistan in April 2011. Daudzai has also served as Afghanistan’s ambassador in Iran.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2013.