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Raheen tipped as new Afghan envoy to India

Dr Sayed Makhdoom Raheen, one of Afghanistan's outstanding scholar-politicians, is tipped to be the next envoy to India.

india Updated: Sep 10, 2006 14:24 IST
Mahendra Ved (IANS)
Mahendra Ved (IANS)

Dr Sayed Makhdoom Raheen, one of Afghanistan's outstanding scholar-politicians, is tipped to be the next envoy to India.

Raheen's name has been sent to New Delhi. If approved, he could present his credentials ahead of the visit of President Hamid Karzai in November.

He was earlier named Afghanistan's minister of information and culture for over four years. But he was dropped in April after parliament did not approve his appointment, along with that of four other ministers appointed by Karzai.

A part of Afghanistan's intellectual face, Raheen has literary links with India, having researched and published on Persian poet Amir Khusro who lived and died in Delhi.

As minister he was responsible for close cooperation in the field of media and culture. Several batches of Afghan journalists received training and orientation in Indian institutions during his term.

As minister, Raheen objected to Pakistan naming its missiles and weapons systems after Mahmud Ghaznavi, Shahabuddin Ghori and Ahmed Shah Abdali.

They were Afghanistan's national heroes who had contributed to the spread of knowledge and civilization to South Asia. He wrote formally to Pakistan voicing his objections. Islamabad did not respond.

Raheen succeeds Masood Khalili, who was envoy for nearly 10 years before being shifted to Turkey in December.

He headed the 'Rome Group' of political activists who organised a Loya Jirga, the grand council, to give momentum to the movement to oust the Taliban.

The Kabul-born Raheen, a Tajik, received his Masters and Doctorate from Tehran University. He lectured at Kabul University before becoming director of arts and culture in the government.

Raheen was part of the effort to give Afghanistan a constitution during the regime of president Mohammed Daud, who overthrew monarchy in 1973. He was placed under house arrest when the communists took over in 1978 and migrated to Pakistan to join the anti-Soviet campaign. He was director of Radio Free Kabul.

When the Mujahideen took over the government in Kabul, Raheen was advisor in the government of then president Sibgatullah Mojadidi.

Besides researching Amir Khusro, Raheen's literary works include one on poet Sayed Jamaluddin Afghani, on the relation of Afghanistan in the sub-continent from past times to the seventh century, Ashk e Khurassan, Aza Daran and Today's Muslim written in Pashto.

First Published: Sep 10, 2006 14:12 IST