Opening Remarks by H.E Salahuddin Rabbani Minister of Foreign Affairs at the International Seminar in Commemoration of the Personality and Achievements of Mohammad Wali Khan Darwazi
Ministry of Foreign Affairs – August 5, 2018
In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
Excellency, Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan;
Distinguished Ministers and Members of Parliament;
Honorable Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Community in Kabul;
Mr. Abdul Wali Wali, Member of the family of Shaheed Mohammad Wali Khan Darwazi;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
At the outset, I wish to pay tribute to the memory of all martyrs of the era of Jihad and resistance, and of the national defense and security forces of Afghanistan.
Last year, in this very hall, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan commemorated Shaheed Musa Shafeeq, one of our country’s great political and diplomatic figures. This year, we are commemorating Shaheed Mohammad Wali Khan Darwazi, a figure who introduced Afghanistan independence to the outside world, as the country’s first-ever diplomatic envoy, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Defense and regent of the Amani Kingdom.
Both figures were shining and brilliant historic political and diplomatic figures of our country. Nevertheless, despite being so, towards the end of their lives, they both faced ill treatment and were eventually martyred. As a bitter surprise, 89 years ago, at this very location where our seminar takes place, Shaheed Mohammad Wali Khan Darwazai was sentenced to prison by enemies of constitutionalism and republicanism and eventually martyred.
This makes clear to our present and future generations that the era of obscuring and distorting historic facts, creating fake narratives of history and imposing them on the public has come to an end.
Mohammad Wali Khan Darwazi began his struggle in the 19th Century at a time when several countries were confronting both colonialism and internal oppression. The spirit of resistance against colonialism among the people of Afghanistan dates back to history. However, systematic political resistance, which took place alongside efforts against colonialism to bring about foundational reform and change, began with constitutionalism.
It is noteworthy that long before the formal onset of the constitutionalist movement in Afghanistan, the reformist and development movement in the region, inspired by the awakening ideas of Sayed Jamaluddin Afghan had emerged. This movement attracted broad interest among liberation movements, spanning from the Indian Sub-continent to Turkey and the Middle East.
The constitutionalist movement advocated total political independence, ending internal oppression and absolute monarch, as well as ensuring social justice and the development of society through expansion of education and the modern civilization.
These principles were primarily introduced by a generation of intellectuals who had a good understanding of the world, including of the effects of industrialization. They desired to liberate Afghanistan from the oppression and the lack of development that was prevalent throughout history, and to make sure that the country joins the modern and developed countries of the world.
One of the main differences of the constitutionalist movement in Afghanistan from that of other such movements in the region was the strong support garnered from religious scholars, such as Mowlawi Abdul Raouf; Mawlawi Mohammad Sarwar Khan Wasif and Mawlowi Abdul Rabb Qandahari.
History can attest that efforts of those who were against the constitutional movement, aimed at stirring opposition from religious scholars, proved futile. In fact, some of the movement’s key figures comprised of religious scholars. This constitutes another important lesson of history in the context of today’s situation.
As we confront the threat of international terrorism, we must not underestimate the important role of Islamic clerics in this endeavor, particularly in relation to de-legitimizing acts of violence and terror.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The personality of Mohammad Wali Khan Darwazi, as son of the last Amir of the autonomous Darwaz region, had developed through his migration to Samarqand on political and cultural grounds; his subsequent return to the country and the services he rendered during the governments of the time. A key aspect of his personality, which differed from that of other political figures of his time, was his clear and deep understanding of power relations and of liberation movements in the territories of British India and Central Asia.
At an early age, while in Samarqand, he became familiar with reformist ideas that were dominant in Central Asia and Tsar Russia. Upon his return and residence in Kabul, he not only became familiar prominent political thinkers and reformist ideas, but also gained a deeper understanding of the nature of occupation from influential figures in the Indian-Subcontinent.
Based on his experience and competencies, he was appointed as the country’s first-ever Envoy - extraordinary plenipotentiary - to introduce Afghanistan’s independence to the outside world; and also as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Defense and regent of the Monarchy.
Moreover, based on his broad and deep understanding of political and cultural developments in the region and abroad, he not only supported constitutionalism and the end of oppression, but also had a deep conviction for the need of creating a Republic.
For this reason, historical documents and literature prove that from among constitutionalists, the group led by Mohammad Wali Khan and Ghulam Seddiq Khan Charkhi were recognized as the advocates of a Republic.
In his book “Monarchs of Kabul,” Mehdi Farukh, a prominent Iranian historian writes the following about the personality of Mohammad Wali Khan Darwazi:
“Wali Khan Darwazi is a creative, competent, humble and dignified figure who has the deepest understanding of political issues from among all of other politicians in the country.”
In order to present a clearer picture of the personality of Mohammad Wali Khan Darwazi, and his national and international standing, let me refer to a few scenes from his trial.
When the Governments of King Amanullah and Amir Habibullah collapsed in favor of supporters of an Absolute Monarchy, the new rulers placed Mohammad Wali Khan Darwazi on trial because of their personal and political resentments. During the trial, Shah Amanullah, who was exiled at the time, conveyed his objection to the unjust trial and expressed support to the actions of his regent.
This hall in which we have gathered today is witness to the unjust trial of Mohammad Wali Khan Darwazi.
Ghulam Mohayuddin Arti and Abdul Rahman Lodin, in this same hall, stood one after another - and vehemently protested the unjust trial. Though, They subsequently suffered for their actions.
Another figure was also present at the trial was Raja Mohandra Pardap Singh of the Indian Sub-continent. He also stood from among those present and said to the Chief of the Court: “Even though I am a foreigner and don’t have the right to speak at this trial, I want to say that Mohammad Wali Khan Darwai is a prominent international figure who has made great efforts for the introduction of your country’s independence to the outside world. You should therefore be cautious of your decisions.”
Moreover, when Mohammad Wali Khan’s death sentence was being carried out in Dehmazang prison, another advocate of constitutionalism, Mohammad Mahdi Khan Chandawoli, awaiting his own execution, stated: “First execute me so that I do not witness the execution of man of great integrity and stature – Mohammad Wali Khan Darwazi.”
Today’s relatively democratic atmosphere in Afghanistan has not been achieved easily; rather it has a long experience of exile, martyrdom and sacrifice in the background. This historical background beginning with the exile of Sayed Jamaluddin Afghan, to with sacrifices and martyrdom of the champions of the constitutionalism and Republic movements; to the Jihad against communism for the liberation of our country continues today, as we are making sacrifices in our struggle against terrorism and for the consolidation of democracy.
In conclusion, I want to convey my deepest gratitude and appreciation to my colleagues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the intra-Ministerial and Scientific Committees, as well as other relevant institutions and entities for their tireless efforts in the preparation and holding of this important seminar. I am hopeful that this event is not an only an opportunity to learn more about the different aspects of Shaheed Mohammad Wali Khan Darwazi’s personality, but also the start of more detailed discussions and research of historical realities which will enable us to have a clearer picture of our past.