President Hamid Karzai pretends to believe in democracy and democratic principles and values. But his speeches and statements show that he defines democracy in a completely different fashion. In modern-day democracies, political parties serve as a key pillar of democracy. Political parties aggregate individual demands and present them in the form of a clearly defined policy.
They also mobilize public in support of the political system. In fact, democracies need strong political parties. These political parties should be allowed to gain the capacity to represent citizens and present policy choices. But when President Hamid Karzai delivers any speech or makes any statement, he speaks negatively about political parties.
Over the last ten years, he has pursued a policy hostile to the growth and development of political parties in the country. This has led to a decline in political activism among political parties. President Karzai, instead, has tried to strengthen traditional institutions. President Karzai gives priority and preference to a traditional institution like Loya Jirga.
For him, the advices coming out of a Jirga comprised of a bunch of tribal elders, mullahs and his clients are more important than the policies presented by a political party or a political coalition. When a political party or coalition presents a policy choice to the public, the President is quick enough to call it an attempt towards disintegrating the country. It shows the President's misconception of the modern-day democracy.
Whenever he speaks to university students, he discouraged them to join political parties. He explains that if they join political parties, "they will not serve themselves, their families and their country" as he spoke recently to a gathering on reforming educational system. But the President himself does not hesitate to declare universities off for weeks to prepare and hold a traditional Loya Jirga.
He also does not hesitate to bring university students to such a Jirga to approve his maverick policies such as the reconciliation and reintegration plan to bring his unhappy brothers- the Taliban- to fold while these so-called brothers brutally target and attack schools and schoolchildren that serve as a prelude to universities and university students. The President does not want university students to gain the kind of political awareness and consciousness to resist a force like his upset brothers.