Peace jirga for meaningful talks with Taliban
PESHAWAR, May 29: Speakers at a two-day Qaumi Aman Jirga (peace jirga) have called for meaningful dialogue with disgruntled elements in Pakistan and Afghanistan to end the decades-long conflict and save the region from further devastation.
They said that withdrawal of foreign forces and non-interference were essential measures to establish lasting peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They blamed ordeal of Pakhtuns on lack of unity among them.
“We should talk to Taliban for the sake of peace,” they suggested, adding if America could talk to Taliban, Pakistan government could also negotiate with insurgents in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
Veteran politician Afzal Khan Lala organised the jirga that was attended by delegates from Afghanistan, Pakhtun intellectuals from European countries, representatives of Awami National Party, Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Mazdoor Kisan Party, tribal elders and civil society groups.
Haji Din Mohammad, adviser to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, represented Afghanistan in the jirga. Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf and Pakistan People’s Party-Sherpao boycotted the event.
The event turned out to be a seminar by end of the day quite contrary to the Pakhtuns’ definition of jirga, which is convened to discuss certain problem or issue.
Speakers delivered speeches and narrated their ordeals instead of presenting viable and solid suggestions. After having lunch, majority of the participants disappeared from Nishtar Hall, the venue of the event.
Speakers from Fata complained that tribal people had been deliberately kept ignorant and isolated. They said that Pakhtuns from the settled areas had ignored their fellows and that they had been deprived of fundamental rights.
“Schools constructed in Fata are being blown up,” they said and added that their young generation was growing up without getting education.
Addressing at the inaugural session, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti said that collective efforts through mutual trust among countries of the region were essential for restoration of peace.
He said that people of Afghanistan should be given right of self-determination and solution to the problem should be sought through dialogue and jirgas. Military operation did not provide solution to crises, he added.
Mr Hoti termed holding the jirga important on critical juncture of history that provided an opportunity to national leaders for mutual consultation. He said that recommendations of the peace jirga would help deciding future line of action after valuable sacrifices of Pakhtun nation.
Mr Hoti termed peace and stability in Afghanistan, Fata and Pakistan inter-linked and said that there was lack of mutual trust between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said that both the countries could not get rid of the current problems without mutual trust. He said that intruders were not well-wishers of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
He said that political and administrative reforms had been introduced in Fata as per aspirations of the people of the area. He maintained that military operation could not be a permanent solution to any problem.
The chief minister said that the only solution to problems lied in political dialogues, struggle and holding of jirgas.
He appealed to the participants of the jirga to get united for peace and brighter future setting politics aside. “Solution to the problem is not impossible,” he said. He added that in times of lawlessness and devastation in the country, politics turned meaningless.