Written by admin on Friday, September 28th, 2018

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Afghan, Pakistani Clerics To Discuss Stance Against Violence
Friday, September 28, 2018

Afghan and Pakistani religious scholars will hold talks in Islamabad on Friday to discuss a joint stance against violence in Afghanistan, Pakistani media reported.

A seven-member Afghan delegation led by Atta-ur-Rahman Saleem, deputy head of the High Peace Council (HPC), will lead the delegation in the talks with Pakistani scholars at the Foreign Office on Friday, Pakistan’s Daily Times reported.

The Daily Times quoted sources as saying that the religious scholars meeting is part of the bilateral understanding under Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity and that both sides are of the view that religious scholars have to play an important role in restoring peace.

Afghan officials and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi agreed this month in Kabul on a meeting of scholars and officials in Islamabad to discuss agenda for a joint conference of the scholars to issue a joint declaration about the violence in Afghanistan.

Official sources, aware of the consultations for the conference, quoted by Daily Times, said Afghan scholars will suggest names of Pakistani counterparts whom they believe have influence on the Taliban in the meeting.

In June, more than 2,000 Afghan religious scholars from around the country issued a fatwa, an Islamic directive, saying “the ongoing war in Afghanistan is forbidden under the Islamic law”.

In May, Afghan and Pakistani religious scholars joined Indonesia clerics in a trilateral conference in Indonesia that declared suicide bombings against Islam and also called for direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. A 15-member Pakistani delegation had forced the Indonesian and Afghan scholars to remove the Taliban name from the declaration.

According to the Daily Times report, Afghan ambassador in Islamabad Omar Zakhilwal has been active to persuade Pakistani religious leaders to use their influence on the Taliban. He had meetings with chiefs of Islamic parties like Maulana Sami ul Haq, Maulana Fazal ur Rahman, Siraj ul Haq and Fazal ur Rahman Khalil to seek their role in reconciliation with the Taliban.

In July, Saudi Arabia hosted an international conference of Islamic scholars, who declared Taliban war as “forbidden in Islam” in a declaration.

Pakistani clerics had stayed away from the Saudi conference after the Taliban dismissed the conference as an “American plot to justify their invasion of Afghanistan.”


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