Deadlock leaves Pak-Afghan Ulema Conference in jeopardy

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by arya, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. arya

    arya Senior Member Senior Member

    Sep 14, 2009
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    ISLAMABAD: Pakistani clerics threatened Tuesday to boycott a peace conference slated to be held in Kabul after disputes with a visiting Afghan delegation, underlining the persistent distrust that has long marred the relationship between the two countries.

    Both sides have pledged to step up cooperation in an effort to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban to end over a decade of war in Afghanistan. But the dispute between the clerics illustrates how hard that may be in practice.

    The team of eight Afghan clerics was in Islamabad, on a seemingly simple mission to finalise plans for a conference of religious scholars (ulema) in Kabul next month where they would urge the militants to renounce violence and join peace efforts.

    The two governments announced the plan for the conference in November as a sign of improving relations.

    But the talks that ended Monday seemed to do more to highlight longstanding disputes, especially over the Taliban.

    Maulana Tahirul Ashrafi, head of the All Pakistan Ulema Council, accused the visiting Afghan clerics of trying to use the upcoming conference to denounce the Taliban and elicit support for the Afghan government. He insisted the Taliban be invited to the event to advance the peace process.

    ”During yesterday’s talks, we felt that they want to invite us to Kabul for next month’s conference to get an edict against the Taliban and to issue a statement in favor of Hamid Karzai,” said Ashrafi, who led Pakistan’s five-member delegation.

    He accused the Afghan clerics of being too close to the government and said they announced plans to hold the conference in Kabul on March 10 without the explicit consent of the Pakistanis on the date.

    Ashrafi, who is seen as close to Pakistan’s security establishment, threatened his side would boycott the meeting because of these differences.

    A member of the Afghan delegation, Aminullah Muzafery, painted the meeting in a more positive light. He said the two sides agreed the conference would be held in Kabul in March and would focus on how to bring peace and security to both Afghanistan and Pakistan. But he made clear that they could not invite the Taliban to the meeting.

    ”We asked them (the Pakistani clerics) that if the conference was in Islamabad, would you invite Hakimullah Mehsud?” said Muzafery, referring to the head of the Pakistani Taliban militant group that is at war with the Pakistani government. ”They said that would not be possible, so we told them that if that is not possible, how would it be possible for us to invite anyone from the (Afghan) Taliban to our conference in Kabul?” said Muzafery.

    The Afghan and Pakistani Taliban are allies but have focused their fight on different enemies. The Afghan Taliban have carried out attacks against US-led forces in Afghanistan, while the Pakistani Taliban have focused on fighting in Pakistan.

    Despite the clash between the clerics, there has been some progress in improving relations between the two countries in recent months.

    Pakistan has released over two dozen Taliban prisoners in an attempt to facilitate the stuttering peace process with the militant group – complying, at least partially, with a longstanding demand by Kabul.

    A statement, issued after the trilateral summit on the Afghan peace process attended by President Asif Ali Zardari, President Hamid Karzai and Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this month, said: “President Karzai and President Zardari looked forward to a joint conference of Afghan and Pakistani Ulema in early March.”
  3. datguy79

    datguy79 Regular Member

    Sep 5, 2012
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    To hell with all these pedophile mullahs. The only way to deal with Taliban is to hang them all.
    gokussj9 likes this.

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