FARAH CITY (Pajhwok): A 131-year-old man from western Farah province has been fasting for years for the sake of durable peace in the country.
While raised his weak hands, the man prays to Almighty Allah for peace. “Oh God, prolongs my life until I see lasting peace in my homeland.”
Syed Abdul Qadir, who says he is 131 years old, is a resident of the Barinkot village of Pushtrod district.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, the centenarian said he had been fasting regularly for peace in the country since the invasion of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union.
However, he does not fast on Tuesdays.
The Soviet forces equipped with modern weapons, invaded Afghanistan with support from the People’s Democratic Party in 1979. But the Afghans were up in arms and started resistance.
The Soviet forces had no option but to withdraw from Afghanistan. The last Soviet soldier left Afghanistan in February, 1988 after suffering heavy losses.
Syed Abdul Qadir said the bloody Soviet invasion forced him to start fasting and praying to Allah for protecting his country and people and establishment of peace.
The elderly man added: “In a dream one night, I saw my late father telling me that fasting and remembering Allah is the best deed on all days except Tuesdays. I thus started acting on his advice.”
Abdul Qadir, a man of short stature, uses wooden crutches while walking. He commands a lot of respect because of his mild manners.
About the clean clothes he was wearing, he said: “Today, I have an interview with a media outlet. So I decided I should look fresh.”
He served in the Communication and Information Technology Department for years. After retirement, he has been staying at home for decades.
He has been worshiping Allah, fasting for stability in the country and longing for the happiness of his compatriots.
Asked about the current situation, he became silent for some time and his eyes started welling up, “During rule of Amanullah Khan, Zahir Shah and Sardar Daud, there was stability.
“But afterward, we did not witness peace. The situation has been worsening with each passing day. Stability has since been elusive. I don’t know why?”
The aged citizen claimed after Sardar Daud Khan, no ruler had put the national interest ahead of personal interest.
As a result, he said, the people of Afghanistan had been beset by multiple problems due to wrong policies of rulers.
Abdul Qadir has been keeping himself informed of the political situation through media outlets. He urged the Afghans to seize the current opportunity for peace.
This comes that the Taliban and US have inked a peace agreement in February and there are hops that this agreement would pave the way for intra-Afghan talks in the country.
Referring to the peace agreement, Abdul Qadir said: “This opportunity is a blessing of Allah for the Afghans. I want them to thank Allah for providing them this golden opportunity.”
Unable to fight back his tears, the man had his glasses falling to the ground. While picking up his spectacles, he likened peace to light in a dark room.
“The Taliban and the security forces are brothers. Why should they kill each other? May Allah bring together these brothers, eliminate war and stop killings forever.”
He called for all Afghans, particularly government officials, the Taliban and political leaders, to make sincere efforts for peace.
In the twilight of his life, Abdul Qadir raised his weak hands and prayed: “Oh Allah, grant me life until I witness peace in my country.
“After that, I will be willing to die, as I will have no other dream. Allah will help me realise the peace dream in my lifetime.”
Recent efforts for peace have made him optimistic that hostilities of the past four decades would end and peace would return to the country.
He continued: “I hope Allah will reward me for my worship and lasting peace would return to my long-suffering homeland.”
With regard to the ongoing political impasse between President Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah, he advised both to talk out their differences.
He told Ghani and Abdullah: “Give priority to peace so that the enemy of Afghanistan could not derail the opportunity for peace.”
Abdul Qadir went on to ask the people of Afghanistan to seek Allah’s pardon and pray for an end to the ongoing conflict in their country.
Niamatullah, a resident of Barinkot village, said Abdul Qadir could be the oldest Afghan who had been fasting regularly except on Tuesdays.
While not fasting, Abdul Qadir shares with youngsters stories of his youth. The youngsters enjoy listening hear to his stories.