Abdul Latif Pedram
Abdul Latīf Pedrām (Persian: عبداللطيف پدرام; born 29 July 1963) is a politician and a Member of Parliament in Afghanistan. He emerged as a controversial figure in the press and political circles for campaigning for women's personal rights, a taboo subject in Afghanistan's culture. Currently, he is the leader of the National Congress Party of Afghanistan and is one of the nine representatives of Badakhshan province in the lower house of parliament.
Abdul Latīf Pedrām
|Born||29 July 1963|
Maimay, Badakhshan, Afghanistan
|Political party||Organisation of Toilers' Fedayan of Afghanistan|
National Congress Party of Afghanistan
|Occupation||Politician and Parliamentarian|
|Profession||Writer, Professor, Historian, Poet, Journalist and Politician|
Born in Badakhshan in 1963 to a Persian-speaking Tājīk family, Latīf Pedrām is a writer, poet, journalist, and professor of Persian literature. He was director of the library of the Hakīm Nāṣer Ḫoṣrow Balḫī Cultural Center. First a supporter of the communist government, he soon began to openly criticize and oppose the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and turned toward Ahmad Shah Masood. He stayed in Afghanistan during most of the war years, moving around the country to be able to pursue his activities. Latīf Pedrām was finally forced into exile by the advance of the Pashtun-dominated Taliban and their policies of ethnic and linguistic segregation. Before returning to Afghanistan after the demise of the Taliban, he lived for a while in France where he studied political sciences and attempted to promote Afghanistan's Persian poetry and literature.
Latīf Pedrām is a strong supporter of secularism, federalism and decentralization in Afghanistan. He denounces corruption and strongly opposes Islamic fundamentalism. He advocates an independent, but decentralized Afghanistan, and believes that the country should be divided into autonomous regions under the control of regional capitals.
Although his party is multi-ethnic and is, so far, the only opposition party that is not linked to an armed group, he is regarded by some as a secular Tajik nationalist politician. Perhaps his most controversial statement is the demand for a name-change in Afghanistan. In many publications and articles, he proposed the change of the name "Afghanistan" to "Khorasan", the medieval name of the region, in order to settle some inter-ethnic feuds. His statement is based on the fact that the current name of the country is synonymous with "Land of Pashtuns".
Presidential elections 2004Edit
Pedram received the 5th most votes during the 2004 elections, with approximately 1.4% of the total ballots counted, and approximately 17% of the ballots in his home province Badakhshan - being the strongest of the small candidates. Following the outcome, he criticized the government and the results, saying that "large-scale fraud had occurred", which was "completely shameful." Prior to the votes, Pedram had argued that the presidential election should be delayed because of insecurity and to arrange for the whole Afghan diaspora to vote.
In February 2008, an alleged audio recording of Pedram was aired by various TV channels in Afghanistan, claiming that Pedram had "disrespected" and "insulted" former king of Afghanistan, Amanullah Khan, who is regarded as a "national hero" by many in the country. However, In an interview on Khorasan TV he denied this claim and said that his voice was tampered with. This led to hot editorial crossfires among the press and in the Parliament and Cabinet, echoing with ethnic conflicts when ethnic blocks were identified supporting and criticizing Pedram. Following this, the government of Afghanistan tried banning the National Congress Party of Afghanistan and ordered that "comments about former kings, the president and Jihadi leaders are not allowed." Since the incident, Pedram lived under house arrest in Kabul until November 2008. While expressing its concern regarding the regression of democracy in Afghanistan one year before the 2009 presidential elections, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) called for the unconditional release of Latīf Pedrām.
2009 Presidential electionEdit
In January 2009 an article by Aḥmad Madjidyar of the American Enterprise Institute included Pedrām on a list of fifteen possible candidates in the controversial 2009 Afghan Presidential election. Preliminary results placed Pedrām eleventh in a field of 38 candidates and according to the controversial Independent Election Committee (IEC), he ultimately received 0.34% of the votes. According to IEC results, Pedrām received 6,686 votes in his home province of Badakhshan, considerably lower than the 33,510 votes he received during the 2004 presidential election.
2010 Parliamentary electionEdit
In the 2010 Afghan parliamentary election, Pedram received 8,469 votes in Badakhshan, being the third representative from that province to be elected into the parliament, after Fawzia Koofi and Zalmai Mojadidi.
Latif Pedram is the founder and leader of Afghanistan National Congress Party and the founder of the Tajik's Council of Afghanistan. Tajiks constituted the main anti-Taliban fighting force in the past known as Northern Alliance or United Islamic Front for Salvation of Afghanistan. Latif Pedram´s political vision is to empower the human rights of minorities like Pashaiyis, Parachis, Hazaras and other ethnicities and to promote equality, brotherhood among the different ethnicities and possibly even a name change of the country from Afghanistan to a non-tribal name.
Pedram has received several international awards, including:
- The Prix Hellman-Helmet (Hellman-Helmet Prize) by Human Rights Watch in July 1999
- A special grant from Reporters sans Frontières in December 1998
He is also an honorary member of:
- The International Parliament of Writers and a guest of the city of Suresnes in France
- The "Association of the Persian speakers of the World" ("Peyvand") and member of the board of editors of Peyvand journal
|“||It is obvious for everyone that Karzai could not get 15 percent of the votes if the election had been fair [...] Now if Karzai or anybody else becomes the president of the country as a result of this election, he will be a false president. - Comment on the presidential elections in October 2004||”|
|“||The previous Taliban foreign affairs minister, Wakil Ahmed Mutawakel [...] and many other [Taliban] are living openly in Kabul. Some of these leaders and other [in]famous murderers during the Taliban regime have seats in the National Assembly. Under these conditions, Afghans have the right also to wonder what the foreign forces are doing in their country.||”|
|“||As a non-religious and multiethnic movement, our project is based on a national economic cohesion so that all Afghan ethnic groups participate in the national decision-making. But we have to recognize the realities: the province of Herat and the province of Paktia, live a century apart from each other; if the fundamentalists who are powerful in certain provinces of the south oppose the opening of schools in the territory they control, why allow them to impose their rule in other more advanced provinces!? - Comment on Afghan president Hamid Karzai's remarks to "invite moderate Taliban into Afghanistan's new government".||”|
- Democracy in Danger: Latif Pedram placed under house arrest
- PBS Frontline: World: Afghanistan Without Warlords, a Secular Politician
- LibertyRadio.org Biography
- An interview with l'Humanité (in English, January 1, 2007)
- Institute for War and Peace Reporting: Abdul Latif Pedram: Intellectual Adds Controversy to Campaign
- National Congress Party of Afghanistan Website
- Tajikam Portal
- "FRONTLINE/WORLD Fellows . AFGHANISTAN - Without Warlords . A Secular Politician". www.pbs.org. PBS.
- Moslih, Hashmatallah. "Q&A: Afghanistan's Tajiks plea for federalism". www.aljazeera.com.
- Democracy in Danger: Latif Pedram placed under house arrest
- Afghanistan - Country Fact File
- T. Ruttig, Islamists, Leftists – and a Void in the Center. Afghanistan's Political Parties and where they come from (1902–2006), Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Germany, PDF Archived 2013-05-24 at the Wayback Machine
- The New York Times > International > Asia Pacific > Karzai Secures Victory in Afghan Election
- IRAN PRESS SERVICE: "ELECTIONS CAMPAINING STARTED IN AFGANISTAN" - October 8th, 2004
- Clements, F. (2003). Conflict in Afghanistan: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 28. ISBN 9781851094028. Retrieved 2014-11-23.
- "Afghanland.com Afghanistan Amir Amanullah Khan Ghazi". afghanland.com. Retrieved 2014-11-23.
- "Afghanistan Online: Biography (Amanullah Khan)". afghan-web.com. Retrieved 2014-11-23.
- "Renewed calls for the liberation of Latif Pedram". fidh.org. Retrieved 2014-11-23.
Ahmad Majidyar (January 2009). "Afghanistan's Presidential Election". American Enterprise Institute. Archived from the original on 2009-09-18.
An ethnic Tajik, Pedram is leader of the National Congress Party of Afghanistan. He is a staunch supporter of federalism and secularism and opposes the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan. He became a rather controversial politician after insulting the late King Muhammad Zaher Shah and proposing a name change for Afghanistan. He won the fifth most votes (1.4 percent) in the 2004 presidential election. He has already announced his intention to run.
- "Preliminary Result of Afghanistan Presidential Contest". Sabawoon online. 2009-08-20. Archived from the original on 2009-08-03.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2009-10-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-11-04. Retrieved 2009-11-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Afghanistan Election Results - 2004". Archived from the original on 2009-06-27. Retrieved 2014-11-23.
- Official results for Badakhshan; IEC, 2010
- Interview with "L'Humanité", January 1, 2007, (LINK)