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    Early signing of deal in national interest: Gilani

    KABUL (PAN): Former jihadi leader and Mahaz-i-Millie-I-Islami head Pir Syed Ahmad Gilani has said early signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) is in the interest of Afghanistan.

    In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, he said the text of the vital pact had been endorsed by last month’s consultative Loya Jirga. He was a member of the tribal assembly.

    He said the deal was essential for peace, security and stability of the country. “Elections can be held in peace and security because better law and order is needed for fair polls. Keeping this in view, we need cooperation from the international community.”

    The BSA is in the supreme interest of the country, according to Gilani, who stressed inking the deal as soon as possible.  Referring to neighboring countries’ opposition, he said it was their personal stance. “We believe it is in the interest of Afghanistan and must be inked sooner.”

    Gilani urged the Taliban to take part in the peace process and stressed direct talks between the Afghan government and the armed opposition. As Islamic countries, Saudi Arabia and Turkey could play a key role in jump-starting the stalled process.

    About the upcoming ballot, he said he had neither any contender nor supported a particular candidate. “We will support someone whom our party deems relevant and deserving.”

    In response to a question, he said corruption was a kind of malady that needed a durable solution. Poverty and absence of good governance were contributing to the menace, he believed.