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Controversy erupts on holding Jirga in Pak-Afghan border

Written by: Staff
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Islamabad, Dec 5 (UNI) A controversy has erupted over finalising plans to hold a Loya Jirga (assembly of elders) on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border, even before Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri leaves for a three-day visit to Kabul on December 7.

The News reported today that former Foreign office officials were repeatedly cautioning against holding of such a Jirga.

Former Foreign Secretary Tanvir Ahmed Khan said, ''There is no point in recommending early Jirgas unless there is a clear and comprehensive vision of where they fit into the larger design for Afghanistan and the region.'' ''Kasuri will be doing well to both the countries if he were to spell out this vision in strategic rather than tactical terms,'' he added.

Giving details of the Pak-Afghan Jirga, Foreign office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said the idea of this Jirga came about during the meeting of President Pervez Musharraf and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai in Washington, earlier this year.

''Foreign Minister Kasuri will discuss Pakistan's strategy which it is following in its own tribal areas. We hope something on similar lines can be developed to bring peace and calm to the bordering areas,'' said the spokesperson.

She very clearly articulated that Kasuri will not suggest ''what Afghanistan should do in this regard.'' ''He will tell them how we went about it (in the tribal areas),'' she added.

Meanwhile, Kasuri's three day visit to Kabul will mark the beginning of regular contacts between the two nations, where bilateral relations would be discussed besides ways and means to bring peace and calm to the bordering areas.

Apart from other issues, the two nations are also expected to hold a follow-up discussion on the Washington meeting between the two leaders.

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