Commission for jirgas constituted

Posted in Broader Middle East | 11-Jan-07 | Source: (Pakistan)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (right) gestures to visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz (left) during a joint press conference at the Presidential Palace in Kabul.

ISLAMABAD, Jan 10: The prime minister on Wednesday approved the constitution of a commission for organising jirgas in coordination with the government of Afghanistan. Presidents Pervez Musharraf and Hamid Karzai will attend the jirgas, which will be first held separately on both sides of the border. A joint jirga will follow if the two sides conclude that there is a need for one.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, during their meeting in Kabul last week had agreed to the constitution of a jirga commission by both governments in order to chalk out a strategy to tackle militancy in Afghanistan.

The Afghan president breathed fire at the joint news conference with Mr Aziz, opposing Pakistan’s plan to fence and mine the border. He also accused Islamabad of allowing the infiltration of terrorists into his country.

According to an official handout, Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao will head the jirga. Other members are: NWFP governor Lt. Gen. (Retd) Ali Muhammad Jan Aurakzai, Balochistan Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani, Culture Minister Sayed Ghazi Gulab Jamal and the minister for states and frontier regions, Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind.

The commission will hold meetings with tribal leaders before submitting recommendations to the government regarding modalities for holding of jirgas.

The decision to hold a meeting of tribal leaders and elders in bordering areas was taken in September last when Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Afghan President Hamid Karzai held a joint meeting with the US President George W. Bush at the White House.

The Afghan leader proposed convening a jirga amid tensions between the neighbours who blamed each other for not doing enough to reign in the militants.

Ethnic Pushtuns living on both sides of the border have for centuries used jirgas to resolve their internal disputes.