Despite opposition by some of Afghanistan’s mainstream political parties and six presidential candidates, officials from the High Peace Council on Tuesday said that preparations for the Grand Consultative On Peace are underway and that at least 15,00 delegations been finalized so far.
The Jirga is scheduled for April 29, where almost 2,500 delegates will attend to decide on the future of the peace talks in Afghanistan.
“We hope that efforts will be there to find a solution to the problems and the questions by Mr. (Chief Executive Abdullah) Abdulalh and other politicians so that they can attend the Jirga,” said Abdul Rashid Ayubi, member of the organizing committee of the Jirga. “Those selected so far, they will be on the list in the coming days and it will be shared by the secretariat,” added Ayoubi.
Hizb-e-Islami party led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has also been one of the key critics of the modality of selection of Jirga members. However, it has not officially announced its stance on the issue.
But, on Tuesday one member of Hizb-e-Islami warned that the party could boycott the Jirga unless changes are brought to the selection process.
“If a Loya Jirga is expected to be held, it should be elected, its agenda should be clear and mainstream and influential parties should be consulted on it,” said Humayun Jarir, member of Hizb-e-Islami.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah’s Stability and Participation election ticket was the first movement to boycott the Jirga on Sunday, April 14.
The election tickets belonged to Mohammad Haneef Atmar, Rahmatullah Nabil, Ahmad Wali Massoud, and Noor-ul-Haq Ulomi also boycotted the Jirga.
Critics suggest that the peace Jirga is aimed “influencing” President Ghani’s political rivals.
“Mr. Ghani wants to pursue his personal objectives through the Peace Jirga,” political commentator Fazl Rahman Orya claimed. “One of his (President Ghani’s) objectives is to harm his political rivals. Secondly, he is trying to manipulate the Jirga for the election campaign. The third objective is that he wants to sabotage his rivals in the upcoming presidential elections.”
“In the face of the current situation, holding consultative Jirga on peace and allocating huge money for it is not appropriate,” said Arif Kayani, spokesman for Mehwar-e-Mardom Afghanistan, a political movement in Kabul.