A number of prominent Afghan politicians, former government officials and heads of political parties have welcomed President Ashraf Ghani’s call for a grand consultative jirga, a traditional assembly, on the Afghan peace process.
This comes amid accelerated efforts by a number of stakeholders to find a political solution to the crisis.
Ghani on Monday addressed the “National Consultative Meeting on Peace” at the Presidential Palace and said the decision to hold a grand jirga was made on the advice of delegates at Monday’s conference, which was aimed to ‘dignify’ peace in the country.
“At the Jirga, people will hold discussions on the nature of the peace talks and the post-peace government in Afghanistan,” said Ghani.
Former president Hamid Karzai reacted to Ghani’s call and said a jirga was the only way to move forward and will help the peace process.
“When the people come together, consult and exchange views, it is always good for Afghanistan,” Karzai said.
In the meantime, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said he supports any steps taken to bring peace in Afghanistan.
“I support any action and effort that takes us closer to peace,” Abdullah said.
Meanwhile, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on Tuesday held a meeting in Kabul that was attended by around 100 female judges who discussed the role of women in maintaining justice and human rights.
AIHRC chief Sima Samar said the peace talks should ensure that justice and human rights are not sacrificed or impacted in the name of peace. She also said women were not being given a big enough role in the process and nor have war victims been given a voice.
Samar said if the details of the peace talks are not shared with the people, the public will lose confidence in the process.
“We appreciate and support any initiative that takes us closer to peace; a peace in which human rights and justice should be ensured,” said Samar.
Samar’s remarks over human rights and justice come amid increasing concerns among members of the public over the protection of achievements made in the past 18 years.
A number of legal experts meanwhile commenting on Ghani’s call said this proposed jirga is not the same as mentioned in the Constitution.
“Loya Jirga will not leave a legal impact but it is good in terms of a morale and advisory aspect,” said Abdul Subhan Misbah, a legal expert.
Ghani has said that the jirga will be held around March 19 and delegates will discuss peace and will determine what values are not negotiable.
Ghani has appointed Mohammad Umer Daudzai, Ghani’s special representative on regional affairs for consensus on peace, as the organizer of the jirga.
The High Peace Council meanwhile says the jirga will be held and once consultations have been held with the attending delegates, Ghani will start negotiations with the Taliban.