The Pakistan peace Jirga has begun, and calls for Nato withdrawal. Along with that, they call for the expelling of “alien extremists”. This could be long term good if they really mean it. The Jirga is being led by Asfandyar Wali Khan, a leader of ANP, founded by the pacifist Khudai Khitmatgar movement formed in the ’30’s. Whether this is effective, or just for show before the elections in early 2007, remains to be seen.
Below I’ve added the Article in full from Frontier Post, whose .asp server never lets you link the same place twice:
Peace jirga for end to Pakhtun genocide Participants call for withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan; seek political role for Taliban
Abdul Hakeem Mohmand for The Frontier Post
PESHAWAR: Nationalist leader Asfandyar Wali Khan, asserting Pakhtunsâ€™ unwavering belief in resolving issues by peaceful means, Monday denounced the recent massacre of civilians in Bajaur and Malakand Agencies. Addressing the â€œPakhtun Peace Jirga,â€ organised by the Awami National Party (ANP) at Bacha Khan Markaz here on Monday, Asfandyar made clear they respected human life, property and dignity. The Pakhtuns expected the world at large to reciprocate their gesture and make efforts for an immediate stop to their genocide, the ANP president added. The government must stop the bloodshed of innocent Pakhtuns or be prepared to face the grave consequences of its rash actions, he warned, recalling that his illustrious father Bacha Khan never opted for war even in the worst of situations imaginable. â€œThe Khudai Khidmatgar leader always preached non-violence and peace. We being his grandsons will follow are committed to following in his footsteps,â€ he observed. Asfandyar, who held Gen. Musharraf accountable for the killing of tribesmen, roundly condemned military operations in Bajaur, Waziristan and Balochistan as a counterproductive step. He also questioned Musharrafâ€™s statements branding Pakhtuns as extremists supporting Taliban militants. â€œLet me ask who created Taliban? The answer is simple and straight: Gen. Musharraf himself.â€ Excoriating the presidentâ€™s remarks that all Pakhtuns were Taliban, he insisted they were a peace-loving nation while the former student militia that ruled Afghanistan until 2001 was the creation of the Pakistan Army. With regard to the traditional jirga system, Asfandyar said other nations resolve their problems in a variety of ways while Pakhtuns used their own forum through the ages. â€œThe Pakhtun Peace Jirga is not a one-off event, as we plan to invite all Pakhtun leaders from across the world to similar forums in future. I hope they will participate in future grand jirgas.â€ Asfandyar argued the participation of all political parties in the jirga amply proved the entire nation desired peace and that Pakhtuns were fighting a war for outsiders. â€œFirst, the region was used by America against the Russians; and now it is again being used by the US against Taliban and al-Qaeda.â€ The jirga unanimously passed a resolution that urged unity among Pakhtuns to stop the ongoing bloodshed and to rise above political and ideological positions for the survival of their nation. â€œSince the international security system and regional governments have failed to bring peace to Pakhtun-populated areas, therefore, it is the national duty of the Pakhtun leadership to stand united and press the government to work for peace in our region.â€ The joint resolution condemned the ongoing interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan for the sake of destruction and calls upon all Afghans to resolve their political differences through dialogue. â€œ PAJ is of the opinion that peace is not in the interest of Afghans but is also the prerequisite for stability in the entire region.â€ Events over the past few years had proved that peace in Afghanistan and in the region was essential for stability in the world, said the resolution, which added the Pakhtun Jirga was deeply concerned over the tribal areas being turned into a turf by aliens. It asked them to quit the tribal areas. Opposition leader in National Assembly Maulana Fazlur Rehman, in his speech, said all parties must set aside their political differences and unite on one platform to resolve the issues facing Pakhtuns. He stressed unity among Pakhtuns to foil the designs of their enemy and called for the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan, where the real political forces, including Taliban, should be given a role in bringing peace to the war torn country. Central president of Pashtunskhwa Milli Awami Party Mahmood Khan Achakzai said, historically, Pakhtun had never been involved in terrorism. He claimed the Europeans gave rise to the scourge when Alexander The Great invaded the region, followed by Mughals, Russians, Arabs and Americans. Coming hard on the Pakistani establishment, the nationalist leader said Islamabad had always destroyed the institutions of Afghanistan, which was the cause of uncertainty and unrest in the region. Peace was not only in the interest of the Afghans but was also a perquisite for stability in the entire region, he maintained. â€œWe donâ€™t believe in colour, caste, religion, language or race; we respect every nation and want others to respect Pakhtuns in the same spirit. We donâ€™t have any enemy,â€ he said, wondering why the NWFP was not given the name of Pakhtunkhwa. â€œWhen we seek our due provincial rights, the government calls us terrorists and extremists; we are blamed for trying to break Pakistan into parts,â€ he added. The fact that Bacha Khan spent decades in jail for demanding the rights of his people but remained non-violent spoke volumes for Pakhtunsâ€™ belief in peace. â€œWhatever rights have been granted to the Panjabis should be given to Pakhtuns as well,â€ he stressed. On the occasion, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra viewed army operations as a big question mark over Pakistanâ€™s integrity and sovereignty. Thus it was the responsibility of the political forces to launch a joint struggle against the armyâ€™s role in politics, he continued. The PML-N leader said Bacha Khanâ€™s philosophy was not meant for Pakhtuns alone, but his message was for all Muslims, because he had fought the freedom war for all the Muslims. He also suggested All Parties Conference meeting in London in which all leaders should participate and discuss the political situation of the country. Ex-Senior Minster Sirajul Haq, Ex-Chief Justice of Supreme Court Ajmal Khan, Brig. (Retd) Mahmood Shah, artist Jamal Shah and Sardar Ali Takkar also urged Pakhtuns to unite if they wanted to resolve their problems. The Jirga passed a resolution that urged unity among Pakhtuns to stop the ongoing bloodshed and to rise above political and ideological positions for the survival of Pakhtun nation. The resolution read out at â€œPakhtun Aman Jirga (PAJ)â€ stated since the international security system and regional governments have failed to bring peace in Pakhtun-populated areas, therefore, it was a national duty of the Pakhtun leadership to stand united and press the government to work for peace in the region. The joint resolution condemned the ongoing interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan for the sake of destruction and called upon all Afghans to resolve their political differences through dialogue. â€œPAJ is of the opinion that peace is not in the interest of Afghans alone, but was a prerequisite for stability in the entire region.â€ The resolution stated the events of the past few years proved peace in Afghanistan and in the region was also essential for the whole world. It said the Pakhtun Aman Jirga is deeply concerned about the tribal areas in Pakistan being turned into a turned into a turf of conflict by alien elements and demand from them to quit the tribal areas. Expressing solidarity with Pakhtuns of FATA, the resolution said tribal people are not alone in their difficult time as the entire body of Pakhtuns stands in solidarity with them. â€œThe participants of the Jirga demands that the people of FATA should not be deprived of the fundamental rights, political and administrative reforms should be undertaken by consent and will of the tribesmen,â€ the joint resolution continued. It stated the use of military force is not a solution to any problem; on the contrary, the use of military force to resolve conflicts further complicates the existing problems. The resolution further stated that deliberations in the Jirga highlighted that the leaders of all sections of Pakhtun society should get united for the sake of peace and national unity and preventing the enemies of Pakhtun from taking advantage of our internal differences. â€œThe PAJ has a historic character because all representatives segments of the Pakhtun society are taking part in its deliberations. During the deliberations, leader of different political parties, Islamic scholars, religious and tribal elders and members of the intelligentsia expressed their views on making peace possible in the Pakhtunkhwa.â€
Note: FATA= Federally Administered Tribal Area, Pakhtun= Pakistani Pashtun tribes, Afghan = Afghanistan Pashtun tribes. Also note that some spell it Pawktun, Paktoon, Pashtoon, etc. the distinctions and what they mean are thoroughly unknown to me.
Also note that somewhere in the future we will have to make peace in Afghanistan, and to do so effectively will mean making peace with some of the Taliban. We couldn’t have made peace with the South after the civil war if Lincoln had decided to make peace with the entire south except for the Baptists. No, I am not doing the moral equivalence thing here, obviously many Taliban are plainly and openly evil whileÂ Baptists clearly are not. I am just illustrating a point, not all madrassas train terrorists, many just train real islamic religious scholars. I know some will still have a beef with that, but to call for not making peace with some Taliban is to call for genocide, and to make the false statements from the Peace Jirga become true.
One other note: reports from both Frontier Post and Pak Tribune state that 180 Taliban have been arrested in the past two days, and that mullahs have been taken in as well.