Habibullah Haqtash is a young candidate for the Kabul provincial council election. He studied political science at Kateb University and is active in social and cultural affairs.
Here’s our interview with Mr. Haqtash:
Please tell us about yourself.
I am Habibullah Haqtash, son of Haji Ismail Laali. I was born in Kabul. I graduated from Habibia High School in 2009 and in 2013 I got my degree in political science from Kateb University. I am peaceful person who strives to treat other people fairly and who believes in human values.
What kind of work have you done so far?
I was pretty active as a student and got involved in various civil rights and cultural activities. For a time I was editor-in-chief at the Khat-e Awal Weekly and also head of Al-elm Civil and Research Foundation. I am a board member of the Citizen Foundation, founder and principal of the Al-elm private school, a representative of private schools in the sixth district of the Ministry of Education and deputy of the Union of Private Schools in Kabul.
What made you study political science?
I opted for political science because I was interested in it and also because our society needs more politically aware young people.
How would you define fair politics?
Fair politics are based on sincerity, commitment and a love for the people.
Do you see such politics in practice in Afghanistan?
Experience has shown that sincere, committed and people-loving politicians have been successful while insincere politicians have been unsuccessful and with the passage of time have lost their social standing. Afghanistan is no exception and there are problems.
How much have our politicians been able to engage in fair politics over the past decade?
Undoubtedly, every system has its merits and flaws. There are flaws in the politics that our politicians have pursued. Generally, though, their politics can neither be wholly rejected nor accepted.
How do you see the role of young politicians?
Broadly speaking, they have played a noteworthy role by raising their voices against unfair politics.
How do you see country’s political prospects over the next ten years?
In a democracy, people are defined as the basis of political power, and the prospects for our country’s politics will depend on the political awareness of the people. If the people elect the right politicians, we will definitely witness a better democratic system in the next ten years.
Where do you see Afghanistan in 2024?
It will not be as turbulent as in 2014. If political transition takes place in a proper manner and the Bilateral Security Agreement is signed with the United States, Afghanistan can have a successful next decade by utilizing its experience and furthering the gains it has made so far.
How do you see general security situation in the future?
It largely depends on whether the security agreement between Afghanistan and the US is finalized or not. If the agreement is signed and the US remains committed, we will have a better security situation.
Bearing in mind the current situation, do the people have equal access to their rights?
In general, people in transitional democracies do not have equal access to their rights. It’s the same case with Afghanistan where people don’t have equal access to the rights. We still have a long journey before we reach an ideal situation.
What can young people do for general peace and security?
Young people are an effective social force that can play a significant role in every field of life. Young politicians can play not only an active role in bringing about peace and security but they can also direct others.
You are very young. How did you come to stand for the Kabul provincial council election?
As a young citizen of Afghanistan I considered it my responsibility to participate in the country’s social and political activities and help fulfil the greatest need of Afghanistan, which is for hard-working and energetic young people.
How feasible is it for young politicians like yourself to be active in the current environment in Kabul?
We have made great progress. Young people now have better opportunities and their confidence has grown. The younger generation has already defined its position in our society and the support they are getting from people encourages them even further.
What can members of the Kabul provincial council do to improve life in the cities, with regards to the influx of people from rural areas?
That is one of the major problems in our society and it is caused by lack of awareness of the laws and regulations concerned. In order to change the situation in Kabul city, we need to create more awareness among people. Civil activists, clerics and especially members of Kabul provincial council are crucial in this regard.
How you do see the future of young politicians such as yourself?
Although conducting politics is quite complex in a country like Afghanistan, our politically savvy young people and the future leaders of Afghanistan are moving towards a bright future.
How can the monopoly on politics by certain individuals be diminished and replaced by merit?
Although democracy is only in its early stages in Afghanistan and people are not as aware as they should be, we cannot neglect the achievements of the past 12 years. Today people can vote and elect their president and representatives in the provincial councils and the parliament. This is no longer being decided by individuals but by the people.
And finally, what is your message to the readers of our magazine?
Let’s move together towards an Afghanistan where there is no inequality, and where civil society governs. There is a pressing need for solidarity among the people to work effectively towards a better Afghanistan. We must move beyond words and take action to build a society where all have equal rights.