23 July 2007
Secretary-General
SG/SM/11100
AFG/297

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

SECRETARY-GENERAL SADDENED BY DEATH OF FORMER KING OF AFGHANISTAN;

 

‘FATHER OF THE NATION’ LENT PRESTIGE TO DEMOCRACY, RECONCILIATION


The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:


The Secretary-General was deeply saddened by the death of Mohammad Zahir Shah, the former King of Afghanistan.  He sends his most sincere condolences to the family of Mohammad Zahir Shah and to the Afghan Government and its people.


Mohammad Zahir Shah will be remembered for the long period of peace and development during his reign.  He was responsible for adopting a Constitution in 1964 that was a model of tolerance, as well as a synthesis of the best of Islamic and modern political thought.  The international community remains grateful for the dignity and grace with which he accepted to surrender monarchical claims in 2004 in favour of a republican Government based on a new Constitution, accepting instead the title of “father of the nation”.


Mohammad Zahir Shah spent one third of his life in exile, while several coups, an invasion and a civil war engulfed his country.  He returned in 2002 to lend his prestige and efforts to supporting the establishment of a democratic Government and national reconciliation.  All those working towards these goals will mourn his death.


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For information media • not an official record