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Transition, reconciliation should precede troops withdrawal: Fazl

07 April, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said on Sunday that his party did not support the evacuation of foreign troops from Afghanistan before the transfer of power and reconciliation.

He said the effectiveness of the Afghan elections was linked to internal Afghan political reconciliation in the short term.In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Jan Achakzai, the Maulana said after these important elections, Afghans were about to decide the ambit of their relations with the Nato and the US. He said internal Afghan political reconciliation was the only way to ensure long-term security and stability in the country underpinned by constitutionalism and economic development.

He said the JUI-F was the first political party to urge all Afghans to pivot to the politics of internal reconciliation and that advice was also for the Afghan Taliban if they wanted to make their sacrifices meaningful. "The Afghan Taliban need to come to the table with all Afghans and become shapers of the country's future with other fellow Afghans," he added.

As far as Pakistan was concerned, he said stability and peace in Afghanistan was directly liked with the security and stability in Pakistan so Islamabad has a role to effectively facilitate Afghan reconciliation.

The Maulana said the JUI-F believed that all foreign troops will have to eventually exit Afghanistan but in the meantime any rush to the door will create a vacuum that will sow the seeds for a civil war, so it is for all the Afghans to decide how best they can achieve reconciliation and political transition before complete withdrawal of the foreign forces from Afghanistan.

"The war on terror has failed to stem terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, thus entire emphasis should be on the politics and diplomacy of reconciliation," he said.Fazlur Rehman said the Western alliance also needed to come clean on how many Afghans and Pakistanis died in collateral damage and drone attacks. "This is time for honest reckoning for the Western alliance what good or bad they did in Afghanistan and in the region," he observed.

He said that in the mid-term Afghanistan's political future needed to be underpinned by economic opportunities and that was only possible by the exploitation of natural and mineral resources.

The JUI-F chief regretted that China has suspended its involvement in the copper project in Afghanistan. He said that China needed to revisit its "passive-non interference policy" in Afghanistan as it simply cannot disengage every time it faces security challenge to its economic interest, be that in Afghanistan's copper development project or in Pakistan's proposed Eastern Corridor, as there will always be geo-political contesters undermining its interests.

"Thus Afghans, in the mid term, need to convince that China adopts pro-active non interference policy so that it becomes well entrenched economic stakeholder in the stability and prosperity of Afghanistan," he added.


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