Religious scholars from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia at a meeting held within the framework of the Muslim World League (MWL), in the Muslim holy city of Makkah on Thursday, called for a swift halt to the war in Afghanistan, calling on the Afghan warring factions to follow the path of peace and reconciliation and resolve their differences through at the negotiation table.
Meanwhile, a number of scholars in Afghanistan have said that the current war waged by the Taliban has no justification and cannot be called a Jihad (Holy war). Some scholars in Pakistan have also raised their support for the Afghan peace process.
The virtual meeting was hosted by the Saudi government.
Scholars said that Islam teaches tolerance and peace. They called on the Afghan government and the Taliban to resolve their differences through talks.
“We should stop the explosions and the suicide attacks which make victims of our children, scholars and others in the country. Our opponents are also our Muslim brothers. But we do not act like them and do not brand them infidels,” said Mohammad Qasim Halimi, the Afghan minister of religious affairs and pilgrimage.
“Muslims are being killed inside the mosques, the children are being killed during their birth, attacks are launched on universities and hospitals,” said Halimi.
Pakistani scholars meanwhile described peace in Afghanistan in the interest of the region and Pakistan.
“The government, people and scholars of Pakistan want to see peace in Afghanistan,” said Noor-ul-Haq Qaderi, a Pakistani scholar.
“We hope that Saudi Arabia continues its cooperation with us until there is peace in Afghanistan,” he said.
“Peace is quite important for Afghanistan. Pakistan wants peace in Afghanistan. There is an opportunity for political stability in Afghanistan,” said Iftekhar Hussain Naqvi, a Pakistani cleric.
Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia at the meeting said that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.
The event, hosted by Saudi Arabia, brought together senior scholars from Afghanistan and Pakistan for a "historic, landmark event on the path toward reconciliation between warring factions, in an effort to end the fighting and bring peace to the country," Arab News reported, citing an announcement of the organization.
Organizers said the conference was conceived in order to utilize the MWL’s role in resolving conflicts within the Islamic world, with the support of Saudi Arabia. They said the work of the conference "will reflect the MWL’s sense of historic responsibility as a representative of all Muslims, and its desire to achieve unity, solidarity and harmony, the security of its societies, and the safety of its citizens," as reported by Arab News.
The opening session featured Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary general of the MWL, Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, the Pakistani minister of religious affairs and interfaith harmony, and Mohammad Qasim Halimi, the Afghan minister of hajj and religious affairs.
They were joined by senior clerics from both countries.
Also in attendance was Lt. Gen. Bilal Akbar, the ambassador of Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Javed Mujadidi, the ambassador of Afghanistan to Saudi Arabia, Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and Shafiq Samim, Afghanistan’s permanent representative to the OIC.