Former President Hamid Karzai in a statement on Saturday called on President Ashraf Ghani to delay the Grand Consultative Jirga on Peace to prevent its “possible negative impacts” on the ongoing peace efforts.
Karzai said that he does not see the consultative Jirga in favor of Afghans.
Almost 3,000 delegates from across the country will attend the Jirga to decide on the future of the peace process, as President Ghani’s Special Envoy Umer Daudzai put it last week. He added that preparations for the Jirga are in full swing for the Jirga which is scheduled for April 29. The Afghan government has announced a one-week holiday to hold the event.
Karzai, who held talks with the Taliban in February, said the Jirga will not help in reaching a consensus on peace.
He argued that there was consensus on Jirga held in the country throughout the history, but this time, “the Jirga has started without consensus and that there is no consensus within the National Unity Government on the event”.
Karzai said that a majority of the political community, elders, religious scholars, political activists and civil society members have concerns about the “goals and the timeline” of the Jirga.
He said the Jirga should be held for creating a trust environment and providing the ground for peace in the country, not vice versa.
Karzai said the consultative Jirga, which has been opposed by the Taliban, will not help in creating a trust environment for peace talks.
He added that he sent a letter to President Ghani on October 10, 2017 and proposed a transitional Loya Jirga on creating coordination and ensuring sustainable peace in the country. He said that at that time, the peace talks did not start but now the negotiations have started and that the peace process has seen developments.
Karzai said that Afghan government’s role in the peace talks needs to be strengthened.
Karzai mentions the negotiations between the Taliban and the High Peace Council officials in Moscow last November, the intra-Afghan dialogue in Moscow in February, and the consensus of the United States, Russia and China on Afghan peace as developments in the peace process.
He said that the peace efforts need to be expedited, therefore, he said, the Jirga should be held after peace talks and after acceptable agreements so that Afghan delegates can discuss and approve the achieved agreements on peace.
“Considering the facts, I suggest President Ashraf Ghani delay the peace Jirga in order to prevent the possible negative impacts on the ongoing peace talks,” Karzai said in the statement.
The former president said that he appreciates all the delegates for their willingness to attend the consultative Jirga and he hopes that all Afghans will get together in a Loya Jirga to approve agreements on peace.