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Pak and Afghanistan hold ‘mini-jirga’ on violence | Pakistan | News | Newspaper | Daily | English | Online

Pak and Afghanistan hold ‘mini-jirga’ on violence | Pakistan | News | Newspaper | Daily | English | Online

Pakistani and Afghan officials and tribal leaders met for talks in Islamabad on Monday to find ways to end mounting Taliban and Al-Qaeda violence along their troubled border. The two-day meeting has been dubbed a “mini-jirga” as it is a smaller follow-up to a traditional “jirga” or tribal meeting held between the two feuding neighbours in August 2007. “Both Afghanistan and Pakistan are faced with terrorism and together they need to face the challenge,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the start of the session. The meeting features 50 members 25 from each side including government officials, representatives of political parties and members of the ethnic Pashtun tribes that straddle the Afghan-Pakistan border. Afghanistan’s hardline Islamist Taliban militia, which ruled that country from 1996-2001, and a newer grouping of Pakistani Taliban militants are both effectively Pashtun groups.

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan with JN Nehru

The first step

On February 22nd, 2008, the Deoband Seminary, the most respected Islamic seminary in South and South East Asia, issued a anti-terrorism declaration at a huge public meeting attended by hundreds and thousands of people. This set up a new direction in Islamic social dialogue – where a non-establishment, Islamic theological group came out against terrorism. Subsequently, some other ‘liberals’ jumped onto this bandwagon.

And then …

Pakistan was sent on a cold turkey … by Saudi Arabia, China and the US. Pakistan has been forced to go to IMF which is prescribing a heavy cut back in defence spending.

But most interestingly …

Suddenly the world has been reminded about Khan Abdul Khan Ghaffar Khan. The LA Times recently ran an column on him.

As the 2ndlook post ‘Behind The Web of terror’, on December 17th, 2007, pointed out, the answer to the Pakistani problems in the North West tribal areas was Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. On October 3rd, 2008, the Frontier Gandhi’s grandson was the target of suicide bomber. The terrorists are obviously worried that Khan Abdul Khan Ghaffar Khan’s sensibility may make a comeback.

Hopefully, this a new beginning for Pakistan …

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