The young man who threw his shoes at Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in Herat on Friday, during an event at a mosque, was arrested by security forces on Saturday.
Abdul Wahid, from Dadshan village in Herat’s Guzara district, is being held in custody, police confirmed.
Herat governor’s spokesman said Hekmatyar has forgiven Wahid, but Herat’s Ulema Council said the fact the man threw his shoes in a mosque was a huge insult.
Herat police spokesperson Abdul Ahad Walizada said the young man will be handed over to legal and judicial institutions.
“The Hizb-e-Islami leader has forgiven the man, but we should wait for a decision by the legal and judicial institutions,” said Walizada.
Herat residents meanwhile said members of the public were still opposed to politicians who had been involved in the civil war and Wahid had simply wanted to show his disapproval.
“The individuals that do not have a good track record with the public, even after returning to society, also want to create discord among the people and could face such action,” Herat resident Omid Sediqi said.
“The move should not have happened in the city of knowledge and culture (Herat). Because Hekmatyar has returned after years with the message of peace,” another resident of Herat Omid Neday said.
Meanwhile Herat’s provincial council members criticized politicians for using mosques as a campaign venue and said these were religious institutions for praying – not for political purposes.
“Mosques shouldn’t be misused for political purposes and officials at the mosque must give reasons for having allowed this,” Habib-ur-Rahman Pedram, a member of the provincial council said.
“It should be asked why politicians were allowed to use the mosque for political work,” another member of the council Abdul Rahim Saleh Timori said.
Meanwhile pictures have been published on social media platforms that show Wahid spoke to a member of Hizb-e-Islami, Juma Khan Hamdard, before the incident. However Hizb-e-Islami has not commented in this regard.
A number of lawyers meanwhile said if Hekmatyar has forgiven the man, then the case should be closed and there is no rational reason for an investigation.
“This incident (throwing shoes) is included in the forgivable crimes. If the plaintiff asks for an investigation, then the accused will be prosecuted. And if the plaintiff does not complain, then the case gets closed,” the head of Herat's Association of Lawyers, Rafi Naderi said.
Following the incident at Herat mosque, Hekmatyar said in the past few decades he was targeted many times, but that he isstill alive.
“In the past 50 years all the governments in Kabul and their supporters including ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence agency) and KGB(former Soviet intelligence agency) were trying to kill me. But now I am here and they are not,” said Hekmatyar.
Since 2001, Hekmatyar is the first leader of a political party to use Herat’s mosque for a political campaign.