Prof Burhanuddin Rabbani, former Afghan president and the current chief of the High Peace Council, Friday in Islamabad held meetings with the leaders of Pakistan’s two important politico-religious parties and sought their ‘good offices’ for the facilitation of reconciliation process launched by Kabul for ending the years-long conflict with the Taliban.
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) delegation was led by the party chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, while senior leaders including Prof Khurshid Ahmed, Mian Aslam and Dr Kamal resented the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).
“In these meetings, Prof Rabbani sought the help of these leaders and their parties to end the prolonged war and strife in Afghanistan, which he said, they could do by using their ‘good offices’ with the Taliban,” said a source privy to the significant talks, which were otherwise overshadowed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari and his other planned engagements in the federal capital. President Karzai had set up the High Peace Council last year to seek talks with the Taliban in return for laying down their arms and accepting the Afghan constitution.
Rabbani, a prominent leader who fought against the USSR in the Afghan war during 1980s, and his delegation will call on another prominent Pakistani leader Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao today (Saturday).
Talking to journalists after a meeting with Fazl, the Afghan leader said, “Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam is an important party and has influence in the Afghan Taliban. We want a political solution and are here to seek their support to establish peace in Afghanistan.” Speaking on the occasion, Fazl said his party fully supported a political solution in Afghanistan and negotiations with all stakeholders. He cautioned against the military operation in North Waziristan, saying it would tantamount to a suicide attack.
Mian Aslam of Jamaat-e-Islami while talking to Pakistani Today said his party leadership had old friendly ties with Prof Rabbani and the meeting was meant to further strengthen those relations.
He said, “We favour durable peace and stability in Afghanistan and are ready to extend all possible cooperation to the Afghan nation for achieving the aim.”
The IJI leader opined that a lasting peace in Afghanistan required the withdrawal of US troops from the war-torn country. The Afghans themselves should be allowed to tackle their country’s affairs and bring stability back to their homeland, he added.