Impartial body not PHC must hold peace talks: MPs
KABUL (Pajhwok): Some senators on Sunday said an impartial delegation to be acceptable to all parties should hold the second round of peace talks with militants.
Representatives of the Afghan government entered first face-to-face talks with Taliban in Murree, a tourist resort close to Islamabad, in July 2015. Chinese and American officials attended the Pakistan-facilitated meeting as observers.
Members of the outlawed Haqqani Network were also part of direct contact with the Afghan government. However, the second round of negotiations, scheduled for July 30, was put off after the announcement of Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s death.
Since the suspension of the talks, hundreds of Afghan civilians and security personnel have suffered casualties as result of a sharp spike in bombings, suicide attacks and armed clashes in Kabul and other provinces of the country.
According to reports, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States are set to begin talks on Monday aimed at reviving the Afghan peace process.
Officials from the four countries will meet in Islamabad in a first step towards resuming stalled negotiations. The Taliban are not expected to attend the talks.
The quadrilateral meeting will discuss an elaborate plan and mechanism for the negotiations between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives.
Senator Taiba Zahidi told Sunday’s session that a third party, which was acceptable to both parties to the conflict, should be assigned with advancing the peace parleys instead of the High Peace Council (HPC), a government body tasked with negotiating peace with the rebels.
Likewise, another Meshrano Jirga member Abdul Baqi Baryal said members of the proposed impartial delegation should be acceptable to both the sides.
“Peace is our desire, but unfortunately no one has honestly worked for peace,” he said.
Senator Hasibullah Kalimzai said the creation of an impartial delegation for peace talks was important to take steps for peace with honesty.
“We want durable peace with honour and a peace that preserves our 14 years achievements,” another Senator Gul Ahmad Azami said, while supporting the peace talks.
According to Azami, Pakistan has put forward some conditions to the Afghan government for bringing the Taliban militants to the negotiating table.
He claimed the conditions included recognizing the Durand Line as an international border by the Afghan government, withdrawal of Indian consulates from Kandahar and Nangarhar provinces and leaving untouched the water of Kunar river into Pakistan.
Such demands showed Pakistan continued to interfere in Afghanistan’s affairs, but the Afghans would neither let anybody interfere in Afghan affairs nor would they allow anyone to compromise on the national interests under the garb of a peace deal, he said.
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