Pakistan gives up plan to host Afghan leaders for peace

09:46 PM | 3 Aug, 2021
Pakistan gives up plan to host Afghan leaders for peace

ISLAMABAD — Annoyed with the malicious propaganda campaign launched by the Afghan government, Pakistan has shelved its plan to host the Afghan Peace Conference involving Afghanistan’s political leadership.

A senior official said that Pakistan quietly shelved the plan to host the peace conference, which was to be attended by the political leadership of Afghanistan. The event was originally planned to be held from July 17 to 19 to give a fresh impetus to the efforts for Afghan peace.

At least 21 prominent Afghan leaders such as Abdullah Abdullah, Karim Khalili, Mohammad Younus Qanooni, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Mohammad Hanif Atmar, Salahuddin Rabbani, Ismail Khan, Ata Mohammad Noor, Sayed Hamed Gailani, Sayed Eshaq Gailani, Batur Dostum and Mirwais Yasini, had been invited to the conference in Islamabad and most of them had confirmed their participation. Taliban had not been invited.

However, it was postponed at the eleventh hour after last minute pull-outs and criticism by President Ashraf Ghani, who had reportedly during a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan in Uzbekistan, called for its cancellation.

Initially, it was said the conference had been postponed because it coincided with Afghan leaders’ visit to Doha for a meeting with Taliban negotiators.

The Pakistani government, besides helping Afghans develop a consensus on the peace process, wanted to use the event to hear from them (the Afghans) their expectations from Pakistan.

“Afghan leaders individually in their conversations with Pakistani officials make varying demands, therefore, we thought the conference would help them put forward a common set of expectations,” the official said.

The Pakistani government is now thinking of convening a regional conference on Afghanistan at the foreign ministers’ level.