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Does HPC matters?

The High Peace Council of the country has been in the troubled waters since its formation in 2010 because it has drawn wide criticism for its snail’s pace activities and disoriented policies. It is has been over five years but achievements of the council is almost nil. For some the body is only a mean to grab donations and delude the war-stricken nation on the pretext of peace and stability. However, for others it is a council which comprises of people having good contacts with the militant groups and could convince the insurgent leaders to renounce violence and adopt a peaceful way of living. The HPC is a successful or a failed body, should be a secondary question at this time because the primary question is now about its survival. Does its existence really matter?

The major donor countries have turned a blind eye to the HPC and suspended financial aid. Confirming the report, Spokesman of the peace council Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar said the United States and the United Kingdom, major donor countries, have suspended the aid because the HPC’s chief position is lying vacant as well as of the council’s secretariat chief. For the past three months, activities of the HPC came to almost a halt because of the decline in financial support. Japan and Germany are also supporting the council financially. The two countries are still supporting the peace body but the amount of aid is less than what is provided by the US and UK.

The donors have provided $50 million to the council, so far. Ex-President Hamid Karzai established the HPC in 2010 after the consultative Peace Jirga suggested formation of a body to negotiate with the relatively moderate Taliban fighters and bring them into the fold of peace. However, the council has failed in its job. The insurgents that surrendered and handed over weapons have returned to the battlefield and are fighting Afghan security forces. Key Taliban commanders have not joined the peace process. On the contrary, the HPC members came under attack. When the council could not protect its staff then how could it bring peace to the country and save lives of nearly 30 million people? The HPC has no mechanism to punish those insurgents who violate the peace agreement. Moreover, there is no mechanism of accountability within the HPC. Audit report of the council’s spending yet to emerge to the surface. Perhaps, it enjoys immunity. Public wants to know how much donations the peace body spent and what it has achieved. Performance of the HPC is visible from its website. The website is outdated and does not carry the message of the current president.

May be the donor countries are pinning hope on the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG). The body, comprised of representatives of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the US, is performing well than the HPC. It is working on a roadmap. The peace council has no such thing. The Taliban also criticized the HPC in this aspect. The militant group said that peace talks without a clear roadmap are impossible. If the QCG succeeded in establishing a peace mechanism, agreed by the all parties and guarantors, then existence of the peace council would be meaningless. However, it has to be on legal ground because the HPC is a legal body. But, legal bodies are accountable. Thus, the HPC shall be made accountable to the parliament and media, for its spending and activities.

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