AT News Report
KABUL: A prominent politician and ex-Jihadi commander Mohammad Ismail Khan casted doubt over legitimacy of Consultative Loya Jirga that has been inaugurated on Monday with at least 3,200 delegates, saying the Jirga has been convened by government which soon loses its legitimacy.
Speaking at a gathering in Herat province on Tuesday, he said “incumbent government is not legitimate and if the participants of the Jirga insisted over continuation of government, peace will never be achieved.”
The focus of Jirga members has to be peace only, Khan, who has served as minister of energy and water in ex-government said, warning that Afghans will not achieve peace if justice is not served.
According to him, President Ashraf Ghani wants continuation of his government through Jirga.
However, a senior official of the Jirga, Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhail said that the event is not aimed at election campaign or other issues, and that it is aimed at discussing peace by the people.
During inauguration ceremony, President Ashraf Ghani said the members of the Jirga will determine framework of talks with the Taliban group. To run Jirga, President Ghani appointed former Jihadi leader Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf as chairperson. During his speech, he said peace will come, and called on Afghan politicians who boycotted the Jirga, to attend at least the last of Jirga where redlines in talks with Taliban will be announced.
The Jirga has been boycotted by key political leaders including twelve presidential candidates, who have called it an “election campaign” by President Ghani.
Jirga has been convened at a time when a number of Afghan influential figures, politicians and presidential candidates say they will not participate, believing it could not resolve anything rather making things complicated in the ongoing peace talks with the Taliban. According to them, Consultative Loya Jirga should have been held six months ago, when the US launched its efforts for peace, and it was better Jirga be convened at the successful conclusion of peace talks.
Twelve presidential electoral teams, and political parties boycotted Consultative Loya Jirga, terming it an election campaign by President Ashraf Ghani.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah who is part of the government, and shares equal rights, he too opposed the Jirga, saying not only him but also his electoral team would not attend the Jirga.
Taliban group also rejected participation in the Jirga. The Taliban in a statement said that the government is trying to achieve its goals through the Jirga and eager to sabotage the peace process through it.