Veteran politician plans jirga for peace on Pakhtun land

PESHAWAR: Awami National Party leader Mohammad Afzal Khan Lala in his capacity as one of the veteran Pakhtun politicians has decided to call a Pakhtun Qaumi Jirga in Peshawar in the next few months to ponder over ways to stop bloodshed on the Pakhtun land and restore peace in the region.In a statement issued here on Wednesday, Mr Khan said that elders, religious scholars, politicians, students, representatives of labourers, intellectuals, businessmen and opinion leaders from all Pakhtun belt would be invited to the jirga.

“I would like to see the support of the Pakistani government, Afghan government and the international community for this initiative. With their support this jirga can play a major role in the achievement of peace in this region,” the veteran politician said.He said that all Pakhtuns irrespective of their political affiliations or ideological orientations would be welcomed in the jirga to
put their point of view across.He said that Pakhtun history and traditions were not compatible with violence as a mean to achieve collective goals. He said that the organisers would also invite participants from Fata, Pakhtun districts of Balochistan and a delegation from Afghanistan besides the expatriate Pakhtuns.

Mr Khan said that the jirga would focus on a two-point agenda. Giving details, he said that the bloodshed of Afghans/Pakhtuns had started over three decades ago when this part of the world became a battleground of the world powers. “The bloodshed still continues today after the loss of lives of over three million Pakhtuns,” he noted.He said that decades of violence had left a big vacuum in the Pakhtun society in terms of leadership and collective direction.“This vacuum in many places is filled by unwelcome guests who have exploited the generosity of Pakhtun traditions,” he said and added that the jirga would deliberate on the historical facts to ascertain how Pakhtuns became unwilling partners in a vicious cycle of bloodshed on their own soil.

The second item on the agenda will be to find ways to stop this cycle of violence on Pakhtun land and to develop consensus on peace-building initiatives in Pakhtun-dominated areas.“Pakhtuns do not have a global agenda of imposing their will over others nor do they have the socio-economic power to challenge regional or global powers. Therefore, there is no clash of interests between the Pakhtuns and the regional and global powers,” Mr Afzal Khan said and clarified that extremists from other parts of the world were not welcomed on the Pakhtun soil.He said that the first jirga would be held in Peshawar in the coming few months. – Dawn