Pakistan awaits Afghan ‘fatwa’ against TTP, affiliates

Islamabad and Kabul made ‘mutual commitment’ to seek decree from their religious scholars

Kamran Yousaf January 22, 2018
Islamabad and Kabul made ‘mutual commitment’ to seek decree from their religious scholars. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: In October last year, Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa traveled to Kabul as part of efforts to improve strained ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan. One of the decisions, according to Kabul, reached during the visit was that Pakistan would seek a ‘fatwa’ or religious decree from its religious scholars against suicide bombings inside Afghanistan.

Pakistan officially never acknowledged if the army chief made any such commitment. However, now a senior official, who was privy to the outcome of Gen Qamar’s visit to Kabul, confirmed the development.

What is significant, though, is the revelation by the official that the Afghan government was just telling ‘half-truth.’

The official, who requested not to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject, told The Express Tribune that it was a ‘mutual commitment’, meaning that both the sides would seek fatwa from their respective religious scholars against suicide bombings.

1,800 Pakistani religious scholars declare suicide bombings 'haram' in new fatwa

Therefore, it was not just Pakistan but also Afghanistan, which agreed to obtain a ‘fatwa’ from its religious scholars, declaring suicide attacks being perpetrated by outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliates inside Pakistan as un-Islamic.

“But, we have yet to see any effort by the Afghan government to honour its commitment,” the official said while pointing out that Pakistan had already made good on its promise by securing a religious decree recently from around 1,800 scholars against the suicide bombings.

Afghanistan, however, is not convinced with Pakistan’s move, insisting that Pakistani fatwa should have explicitly mentioned Afghanistan.

President Ashraf Ghani said the Pakistani fatwa should have included the entire Muslim world including Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, however, clarified that the suicide bombing was un-Islamic “whether it takes place on the moon or in any part of the world” in an effort to dispel the impression the move was not sufficient enough to cover Afghanistan.

Giving rare insight into the recent high-level discussions between the two neighbors, the Pakistani official revealed how Afghanistan dragged its feet on certain commitments.

To substantiate his claims, the official cited the firsthand account of a meeting between Afghan President Ghani and his delegation with the army chief last October.

During the meeting, the official said, the Afghan president spoke highly of Pakistan calling Afghanistan and Pakistan as “inseparable brothers”.

On Ghani’s encouraging remarks, the army chief requested the Afghan president to make this part of a joint statement in order to send a positive message. The Afghan president instantly agreed.

But the moment, the high-powered talks concluded between the two sides, Ghani was surrounded by his aides and others to question how he could make such a commitment with Pakistan.

“And the rest was history. His (Ghani) positive sentiments were never allowed to reflect in a joint statement,” the official said in order to explain that how certain elements within the Afghan government were running the show in Kabul.

Security report calls TTP 'still a potent threat'

“Of course, those were the same elements who never wanted any improvement in the relationship between the two countries,” the official lamented.

But the story did not just end there.

According to the official, the Afghan government was also reluctant to respond positively to a Pakistan proposal, envisaging establishment of different working groups not only to remove trust deficit but also enter into a cooperative relationship.

The different working groups covered the entire gamut of relationship -- including security, military, intelligence, political and economic between the two estranged neighbors.

“The dithering on part of Afghanistan is incomprehensible,” regretted the official.


Sajjad | 5 years ago | Reply It is now war of fatwas.
Rain or shine | 5 years ago | Reply Afghan government does not like Pakistan and that is the root cause
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