Pakistan Supports an Afghanistan That is at Peace With Itself: Intra-Afghan Dialogue in Islamabad

Overarching such initiatives are Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement — after being elected — that “We want to ally with the US for peace, not war”, and Army Chief Gen. Bajwa’s statement last year that “Pakistan seeks enduring stability” in the region.

DESPARDES — Afghan leaders on Tuesday stressed that peace in Afghanistan is not possible without involving all stakeholders in an equitable process based on mutual respect or respecting the expectations for freedom and justice for all Afghans.

These leaders were participating in the first roundtable conference held in Islamabad on Tuesday as part of the ‘Lahore Process’ spearheaded by the Lahore Center for Peace Research (LCPR).

The intra-Afghan dialogue was first initiated in summer last year in Bhurbun, a hill station near Murree. It brought together leadership of Afghan political parties and various Afghan factions — in a first on Pakistani soil.

In all, fifty-seven delegates had attended the moot including renowned Afghan leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, senators and members of the Afghan parliament –it was a major breakthrough, according to several observers.

Pakistan supports an Afghanistan that is at peace with itself” is the common thread between the two moots: bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan through connectivity, trade, economy and health.

The latest roundtable was attended by a thirteen-member Afghan delegation led by Haji Muhammad Mohaqiq, leader of Hizb-e-Wahdat Mardam-e-Afghanistan.

Afghan leaders maintained that peace is an imminent demand of the Afghans who are suffering from all types of atrocities for the last several decades. They also urged Pakistan to facilitate all-inclusive and strategically important discussions with all the stakeholders of Afghanistan and also to address the concerns of the domestic, regional and international actors.

Leaders from Hizb-e-Wahdat Mardam-e-Afghanistan stressed that Afghans alone are the final arbiters of their destiny and an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process was necessary to ensure smooth and orderly peace transition in Afghanistan. They also agreed that the process of intra-Afghan dialogue needs to be accelerated to sustain the peace momentum generated in recent months.

There was a broad consensus among the Afghan leaders that peace and harmony cannot be achieved without respecting the ideological, ethnic and linguistic diversity and pluralism of the Afghan society and promoting mutual respect among all factions.

The Hizb-e-Wahdat Mardam-e-Afghanistan leaders appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in facilitating the Afghan peace process and thanked LCPR for providing them with an important forum to pursue and sustain the intra-Afghan dialogue.

The roundtable was also attended by former ambassadors Muhammad Sadiq, Arif Durrani, various academic scholars including Dr. A.Z. Hilali, Dr. Salma Malik, Dr. Azmat Hayat, Dr. Syed Muhammad Ali and leading journalists Saleem Safi and Juma Khan Sufi, says the Press Release.

This was the first in a series of similar intra-Afghan roundtables that will provide a platform to various Afghan political parties and groups to facilitate their mutual discussions on Afghanistan’s long awaited transition to peace.

Overarching such initiatives are Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement — after being elected — that “We want to ally with the US for peace, not war”, and Army Chief Gen. Bajwa’s statement last year that “Pakistan seeks enduring stability” in the region.

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