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Wolesi Jirga to Evolve Peace Building Mechanism

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KABUL: A majority of Wolesi Jirga (lower house of parliament) members on Saturday agreed to the creation of a commission to evolve a mechanism that could make peace with the armed opposition groups. The first-ever decision of its kind by the assembly came at a special session that agreed to create a commission that would work on the proposal and ask the government for its implementation.

Outspoken lawmaker Shukria Barakzai criticised the current composition of the High Peace Council, saying the peace body was made up of men who fought each other in the past and now had gathered under a single roof to safeguard their own interests.

She also accused Pakistan and Iran of trying to sabotage efforts at achieving peace in Afghanistan. “Our politicians visit Pakistan and Iran to auction the future of Afghans there,” she said, calling for the evolution of a mechanism that could ensure a sustainable peace in the country.

Abdul Qayum Sajidi, who represents southern Ghazni province, said the peace drive could not make any breakthrough over the past many years because the high peace council lacked a strong commitment towards that end. “The Taliban consider the government as a week one and it is obvious that no one talks to a weak side in the conflict,” he said.

Sajidi said political parties had no trust on the government-initiated peace process and the trust-deficit could be overcome only when an effective peace building mechanism was put in place. He asked all political forces and civil society groups to sit together and confer on an effective mechanism on making peace with the armed opposition groups.

Kandahar representative Syed Mohammad Akhunzada said the peace process had not been on track and the government was wasting its resources on an ineffective campaign. “A Talib kills a person in return for 10,000 Pakistani rupees. Give this amount to the Taliban, the peace will automatically come,” he said.

Mohammad Daud Kalkani said Pakistan’s army and intelligence service were trying to establish in Afghanistan a kind of government that worked under the country’s influence. “Most of Taliban members are puppet in the hands of the Pakistani army,” he said.

Another lawmaker from Kandahar Hameed Lalai said: “Who says peace cannot be achieved with force. The Taliban will not agree to enter peace talks with the government until they are not weakened,” he said. He claimed the Taliban were divided into two groups  — one of them is unhappy with the Afghan government and the second is promoting Pakistan’s agenda.

But the high peace council spokesman, Maulvi Shehzad Shahid, also an MP, insisted the council had made many achievements since its inception. “The peace process is not that simple. If the council was not existed, we would have been dealing with much more problems today,” he said.

He said the body was in constant contacts with political party’s leaders, lawmakers, tribal elders, the international community and other regional and international organisations on how to achieve peace. He said instead of criticising the council, lawmakers should present it viable suggestions and a mechanism that could strengthen the peace body.

First deputy speaker Mirwais Yasini, who presided over the session, said the peace process had not been a success so far. He ruled a new commission be created to evolve an effective peace building mechanism that be presented to the government for its implementation, a decision approved by a majority of lawmakers present. Yasini said the assembly would keenly follow implementation of the proposed mechanism until a lasting peace was achieved in the country. (PAN)


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