Grand tribal gathering begins amid tight security
KABUL (PAN): The traditional Loya Jirga on the strategic cooperation agreement with the US and setting up a mechanism for peace talks with Afghan militants commenced amid tight security in capital Kabul at 10:30am on Wednesday.
The Afghan government on Tuesday announced closure of all educational institutions in Kabul for two days aspart of security measures.
Kabul traffic department chief Brig. Gen. Noor-ud-Din Hamdard said all roads leading to the site of the grand assembly would remain closed for four days.
More than 2,000 people, including sitting and former parliamentarians, percent members of each provincial council, representatives of civil society and special people, religious scholars and influential tribal elders. are debating the pros and cons of the proposed agreement at the Polytechnic Institute.
Up to 120 Afghan refugees in Pakistan, 80 in Iran and 30 others in the US, Canada and some European countries are also in attendance. Involving a total 2030 participants, 18 percent of them women, the jirga is being attended by Cabinet ministers and foreign dignitaries as guests.
About 77 legislators, the Hope and Change Coalition led by Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and the newly established Afghanistan National Front, led by Gen. Abdur Rashid Dostum, are boycotting the grand assembly.
MP Muhammad Mohaqiq, ex-vice president Ahmad Zia Masood and the National Unity Front, led by ex-prime minister Eng. Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, are also staying away from the jirga.
Under Article 65 of the Constitution, the president can call for a referendum on important national, political, social as well as economic issues. The referendum shall not be contrary to the provisions of this Constitution or require its amendment.
The insurgents say the jirga has been convened on foreigners' dictates.
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