Ghani’s peace agreement with Hikmatyar

AFGHANISTAN Thursday signed a peace agreement with former warlord Gulbadin Hikmatyar, how heads the now largely dormant Hezb-i-Islami group. The deal comes after a long-drawn behind-the-scene engagement and is being viewed by some circles as symbolic victory of President Ashraf Ghani.
Analysts believe that the deal with Hez-i-Islami is not of much significance as the group has no worthwhile relevant in the present-day ground realities in Afghanistan. It will serve hardly any purpose than giving an opportunity to Gulbadin to lead a normal life in Afghanistan as the accord involves granting judicial immunity for his past actions. There is also reference to designation of his party as terrorist outfit by the United States and a pledge by Ghani Government to work towards removal of its name from the list, which would mean global travel facilitation for him and his colleagues. However, despite all this, the peace deal is welcome development and is in line with Pakistan’s oft-repeated assertion that only national reconciliation offers prospects of lasting peace in the conflict-ridden country. Pakistan also took practical measures to help realize this cherished objective by arranging first direct talks between Kabul and Afghan Taliban but the process has been scuttled by some elements in Afghan Government who see peace moves as threats to their privileged positions in the present Afghan set up. It is all the more regrettable that both Kabul Government and the United States are laying more emphasis on use of force than reconciliation, complicating the situation further. If the Afghan President is really and genuinely interested in restoration of peace and normalcy in Afghanistan than he should engage into negotiations with those who matter and not just with spent forces. Despite anti-Pakistan posture adopted by Ghani administration, Islamabad is still ready to extend its cooperation in promoting reconciliation and Kabul should benefit from this goodwill gesture. The problem of terrorism can only be addressed through a cooperative approach between two countries and peaceful means and not use of force, which has produced no significant gains during the last over one decade.

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