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    Senators voice doubts on Loya Jirga's success

    KABUL (PAN): Meshrano Jirga, or upper house of parliament, members on Sunday said that participants of the traditional Loya Jirga should have been provided with enough information on the proposed strategic agreement with the US ahead of holding the grand assembly.

    The jirga is called into session on Wednesday (November 16) to discuss the pros and cons of the strategic partnership agreement between Afghanistan and the US and a mechanism for talks with the rebels.

    Afghan influential figures from across the country, Canada, Norway and Quetta City of Pakistan had arrived in Kabul to attend the four-day assembly, spokeswoman for the Jirga's preparatory commission, Safia Siddiqui, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    Some former and sitting members of the Parliament, 30 percent members of provincial councils, representatives from civil society organisations, private sector, special people, religious scholars and other renowned figures are expected to attend gathering to float their suggestions for the strategic relations with the US.

    Up to 120 Afghan refugees in Pakistan, 80 in Iran and 30 others in US, Canada and some European countries are due to attend the event. The Jirga is expected to be attended by 2030 people -- 18 percent of them women.

    Karzai has said the draft agreement would be sent to the Parliament for approval after being discussed by the jirga.

    Gulalai Akbari, a female senator from northern Badakhshan province, said the contents of the agreement must have been shared with the Parliament and public prior to holding the traditional jirga. She said the government must explain expenses of the meeting. 

    Lawmakers had not been given information about the US-Afghanistan pact, therefore the outcome of the gathering was deemed negative, Akbari added. “If we don’t have enough information about the agreement, our consultations at the jira will yield no positive results," she said.

    Khaliqdad Balaghi, another senator from Kabul, echoed Akbari’s remarks, saying all the attendees were exclusively hand-picked by the government.

    Rafiullah Haidari, another lawmaker from eastern Kunar province, said the Jirga could resolve problems, but it would have been better if they were informed about the contents of the strategic contract with the US.

    mbg/ma



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