Talks between Pakistani, Afghan clerics fail

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Negotiations between Islamic scholars from Afghanistan and Pakistan failed on Monday, as the All Pakistan Ulema Council (APUC) disagreed with the accord decided after negotiations.
Two sessions of negotiations were held between the scholars of Pakistan and Afghanistan with an aim to pave the way for peace process in Afghanistan and to boost friendly relations between the two countries. However, after the sessions, differences appeared between the scholars during a press conference.
APUC Chairman Tahir Ashrafi said the APUC would not support any conference that excludes Taliban from negotiations. He said the Taliban were a stakeholder therefore they could not be ignored in the negotiations. “We want to end terrorism from every corner of the world, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan, and would support all kinds of peace negotiations,” he said. Ashrafi said that certain changes had been made in the negotiations held between the scholars from both countries, and that those changes were not acceptable to the APUC. He said that during the negotiations it had been decided that a conference would be held on March 10 however at the press conference a new date had been announced, which was not acceptable to the Ulema Council of Pakistan.
Ashrafi said that if the United States could negotiate with the Afghan Taliban to restore peace in the country, then there should be no ambiguity for the Pakistani government to initiate peaceful negotiations with the Taliban.
Earlier, addressing the reporters, Majlis Saat-Ul-Islam Pakistan Chairman Mufti Abu Hurrira said that during the negotiations with the Afghan scholars, it had been decided that in order to expedite peace efforts, a joint conference would be held in Kabul on February 21 in which 250 scholars from both countries would participate. He said that these efforts were on non-government levels in order to assist the state in peace process. He said the conference would not be against anyone but only for peace.