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Editorial: Loya Jirga

At last President Ashraf Ghani has made his mind for convening the traditional Loya Jirga in a bid to take the nation into confidence regarding current situation as well as US brokered peace plan and relations with the neighbouring countries. In fact, the Loya Jirga was scheduled to be convened in previous calendar years of 2017 and 2018 and beside others addressing anomalies in the national constitution was on top of its agenda. But unfortunately President Ghani and US administration have shown reluctance to do so. Whatever might be purposes of President Ashraf Ghani or outcomes of Loya Jirga but it seems to be aimed at further complicating the issues at the stage when the US brokered peace talks are entering into a decisive phase and Presidential polls are scheduled to be held in July. At this stage convening the traditional Loya Jirga is meant nothing else but influencing the campaign in connection with the Presidential elections. President Ashraf Ghani himself is on the list of aspirants and eyeing on second term. And he is facing at least two of his aides who shouldered him in running affairs of the government during last four years. Though Afghans are unanimously supporting peace process and welcoming the reconciliation process but President Ashraf Ghani in last several months shown reservations over Ambassador Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad led peace talks with Taliban. The peace process might be the main topic for heated debate in the proposed Loya Jirga meeting. Likewise during President Ghani’s four years term, the already war stricken motherland is not only ahead with another round of deadly clashes amongst Taliban and Daesh militants but incursion from neighbouring countries also reached to its peak. Pakistan during this period embarked on unilateral decision of fencing the controversial Durand Line. Almost Afghans are unhappy with fencing of Durand Line whether they are living in the country or earning livelihood sources abroad but President Ghani has adopted an ironic silence, thus generating too much doubts. Fencing of Durand Line like to make questions about quorum of traditional Loya Jirga as this time it couldn’t be attended by representatives of millions of Pakhtoon Afghans who are not part of Pakistan. Though President Ghani’s administration is now engaged in preparations regarding the proposed Loya Jirga but he yet to contact some of leading fellow Afghan leaders regarding framing of its agenda and objectives as well. Before welcoming around one thousands delegates of the Loya Jirga, President Ghani needs to realize his responsibilities regarding the Loya Jirga at this stage. Though Afghanistan’s political process exists without political parties but the political parties are registered and the politicians are known to each and every one. On issues of importance, he needs to take his fellow politicians into confidence, which might minimize work for the Loya Jirga. Issues like peace process, fencing of controversial Durand Line, relations with the regional and neighbouring countries needs long, thoughts provoking and results oriented debate, which might be not possible in the Loya Jirga assembly.

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