Govt, Taliban delegates to sit together in Qatar
The source, who is invited to the conference, told Pajhwok Afghan News an eight-member Taliban delegation would participate in the conference.
He said the conference had been organised by the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, an international organisation that brings together scholars and public figures to work against armed conflicts and seek solutions to global security threats.
The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the conference had earlier been planned in Turkey, but it had to be postponed for some reasons and now being held in Qatar on Saturday (May 2).
He said former president Hamid Karzai, Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah and a number of political parties’ leaders and lawmakers had been invited to the conference.
Qazi Hakim would represent the Gulbadin Hekmatyar-led Hezb-i-Islami of Afghanistan (HIA), the second largest militant group after the Taliban.
The HIA has also a political wing led by former economy minister Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal.
The source said others invitees included Qutbuddin Hilal, Syed Ishaq Gilani, Haji Roohullah, Farooq Azam, Yunas Qanuni, Faizullah Zaki, Karim Khalili, Qazi Amin Waqad, Masoom Stanikzai and several others.
The Taliban in a statement issued to Pajhwok Afghan News confirmed their eight-member delegation would participate in the conference.
The group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the two-day conference would start on Saturday in Qatar.
He said the Pugwash conference would be attended by many people from several countries, calling Pugwash an impartial organisation headquartered in Canada with branches in London, Switzerland and few more countries.
He said the organisation held conferences from time to time on international conflicts and invited observers for discussions and analysis.
Mujahid said everyone invited to these conferences spoke on their own behalf and did not represent any government or political party.
“Like we did participate in conferences in Japan and France, an eight-member Taliban delegation led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai will participate in this conference as well to express their views about the sufferings of our people and convey their plight to the international community.”
He said the Taliban delegation had prepared a declaration, which would be read at a time convenient. Mujahid said Taliban’s participation in the conference had nothing to do with peace talks and this had been cleared with Pugwash officials.
He named other members of the delegation as Maulvi Jan Mohammad Madani, Maulvi Syed Rassoul Halim, Maulvi Shahabuddin Dilawar, Qari Din Mohammad Hanif, Maulvi Abdul Salam Hanifi, Mohammad Sohail Shahin and Hafiz Azizur Rahman.
Pugwash has previously arranged such conferences in France and Turkey.
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