A roundtable here on Tuesday underlined that Afghans alone are the final arbiters of their destiny and that an afghan-led and afghan-owned reconciliation is necessary to ensure smooth and orderly peace transition in the war-torn country. The intra-Afghan dialogue roundtable was organized by the Lahore Center for Peace Research (LCPR) as part of the ‘Lahore Process’, at Serena Hotel, Islamabad.
The event was attended by a 13 member Afghan delegation led by Haji Muhammad Mohaqiq, head of Hizb-e-Wahdat Mardam-e-Afghanistan. The Pakistani side was represented by former ambassador Muhammad Sadiq, former ambassador Arif Durrani, Dr AZ Hilali, Dr Salma Malik, Dr Azmat Hayat, Saleem Safi and Juma Khan Sufi. This is the first in a series of the similar intra-Afghan roundtables proposed to be held, providing a platform to other Afghan political parties and groups to facilitate their mutual discussions on Afghanistan’s long awaited transition to peace.
During the roundtable, the leaders from Hizb-e-Wahdat Mardam-e-Afghanistan agreed that an afghan-led and afghan-owned reconciliation process is necessary to ensure smooth and orderly peace transition in Afghanistan. They agreed that the process of intra-Afghan dialogue needs to be accelerated to sustain the peace momentum generated in the recent months. They said some forces are creating hurdles in good relations between Islamabad and Kabul but both side should join hands and work together to bring sustainable peace in the region.
The Afghan leaders maintained that peace is an imminent demand of the Afghans who are suffering from all types of atrocities for the last several decades. They also stressed upon the need to organize the strategically important discussions with various political entities of Afghanistan to address the concerns of the domestic, regional and international stakeholders. There was a broad consensus among the Afghan leaders that peace and harmony cannot be achieved without respecting the diversity and pluralism of the Afghan society and the mutual respect among all factions.
They said the blame-game has not helped either of the two countries and that both must take practical steps to build mutual trust and confidence. They said Afghanistan must reach a political consensus to end decades-long conflict and bring peace and stability to the region. They also appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in facilitating the Afghan peace process and sharing the responsibility to address regional challenges.
The ‘Lahore Process’ for Intra-Afghan dialogue involving the leaders of the Afghan political parties and factions was initiated in June 2019 at Bhurban. Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan chief Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and several other influential Afghan leader had attended the conference that focused on peace process and how to bridge trust gap between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The conference was also attended by representatives of first vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum, head of Afghan High Peace Council Mohammad Karim Khalili, former lawmaker Fawzia Koofi, Pir Hamid Gilani, Wali Masood – brother of Ahmad Shah Masood.