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    Federalism called a recipe for Afghanistan's breakup

    KABUL (PAN): Amid reports about efforts at introducing a federal system in Afghanistan, Kabul-based political analysts warned on Tuesday such a regime could lead to the disintegration of the war-ravaged country.

    Media reports say former vice president, Ahmad Zia Masoud, Junbish-i-Millie party chief Abdul Rashid Dostum and the Hezb-i-Wahdat leader Mohammad Mohaqiq were invited to Berlin, Germany, by a US congressman to convince them into initiating efforts for a federal system in Afghanistan.

    In a joint statement, the leaders said they had a meeting with a number of US congressmen who believed the presidential form of government had resulted in numerous problems. They were urged to launch efforts for a decentralised and pluralistic form of government.

    The politicians insisted provincial governors should be given more powers. To discuss the Berlin meeting, political analysts held a gathering at the Afghanistan Regional Studies Centre in Kabul.

    The centre's chief, Abdul Ghafoor Lewal, claimed Monday's meeting in Berlin was not a political gathering, but a plot to divide Afghanistan. He said a federal system under the current circumstances meant poisoning the countrymen. The idea could lead to disintegration of the country, he feared.

    Lewal said the federal system, which could not work for the betterment of Afghans, would further fuel ethnic, linguistic and tribal differences in the country. Such a scheme would pave the way for more foreign interference, he believed.

    National Journalists Union head, Abdul Hameed Mubarez, agreed a federal form of government was not in the interest of the country, keeping in mind the current situation. He said the proposed regime could divide the country.

    He stressed an end to foreign interference and resolution of internal disputes stemming from the ongoing war against terrorism. He said giving more powers to provinces would weaken the central government that would eventually lead to Afghanistan's disintegration.

    He said Pakistan, over the past 68 years, could not build a united nation. "In Pakistan, Punjabi remains Punjabi and Sindhi remains Sindhi, not Pakistani," Mubarez remarked.

    But political analyst, Asadullah Walwalji, believed small ethnic groups had their rights better protected in a federal form of government. He said the Afghan government was a failure because it had been unable to resolve people's basic problems.

    ma/mud