Paktika residents stoutly support peace pact with HIA
GARDEZ (Pajhwok): Tribal elders and civil society activists from southeaster Paktika province on Friday hailed the landmark peace deal between the government and Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) as a positive step toward stability.
At a gathering arranged in support of the pact by the Paktika Peace Shura in Gardez, they hoped the agreement would serve as a template for peace negotiations between the government and other insurgent factions.
Dr. Fazal Rabi, the shura head, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the long-awaited pact had brought optimism to the people. The agreement would have a propitious impact on other rebel groups as well.
He added the Afghans had waited for years for the signing of the government-HIA accord, which had finally happened as a result of sustained dialogue between representatives of the two sides.
Fazal Rabi acknowledged HIA chief Gulbadin Hekmatyar had dropped self-interest for the sake of peace in the supreme national interest. No one should be allowed to hamper enforcement of the deal, he suggested.
Another participant of the public meeting, Mohammad Hakim, said: “We are grateful to the government, HIA negotiators and High Peace Council members for concluding the process on a successful note.”
With the signing of the agreement, he remarked, the Afghans had conclusively proven they were capable of resolving their problems without international intervention.
Civil society activist Abdullah Pakteen believed the development would encourage other insurgent factions to launch similar talks with the government and renounce the insurgency. The accord would contribute to political stability, he concluded.
On Thursday, the Ashraf Ghani administration and HIA signed the peace deal after two years of negotiations. The outfit agreed to embrace the country’s constitution and dismantle its armed wing.
In return, the government promised the release of HIA prisoners and lifting all restrictions on the group. Release of prisoners by both sides, the appointment of HIA supporters to government jobs and inclusion of its leadership in the decision-making process on key political issues are among major points of the deal.
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