Call to give clerics greater say in peace drive
KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): A high-level meeting in southern Kandahar province on Sunday decided on giving religious scholars more authority in brokering peace, calling for the release of prisoners with alleged links to rebels.
Afghanistan Ulema Council and High Peace Council members, provincial government officials and tribal elders discussed how to intensify efforts at reaching reconciliation with militants on a fast-track basis.
A 15-article resolution, read out by senior peace council member Mohammad Omar Sati, called for giving religious scholar more authority to make decisions. It also said prisoners who had been arrested on charges of having links to insurgent groups be released.
It added peace efforts in Kandahar be intensified, insisting there should be no compromise on the gains made over the past decade, particularly in the area of human rights.
The government should take urgent and decisive measures to root out corruption in its departments, the resolution said, asking judicial organs to quickly investigate cases of the prisoners held on dubious charges.
Governor Toryalai Weesa told the gathering that peace could not be brought to the country with hollow slogans. He said the role of ulema was crucial in bringing stability, urging clerics to interpret peace in line with Islamic teachings.
He urged the peace council to pay special attention to Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement. The governor said district peace councils should be assisted in awareness campaigns and governors given more powers to make the process effective.
Kandahar High Peace Council chief Haji Atta Mohammad Ahmadi said he had travelled to a number of districts and remote areas, where he asked residents to help convey the message of peace to the fighters.
He acknowledged religious scholars could play an effective role in the reconciliation programme, believing peace could not be achieved without their cooperation.
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