Fazl-led delegation of religious scholars set to visit Afghanistan on Jan 3

Source says interior ministry and FO have finalised arrangements for various meetings

Our Correpondent December 31, 2023
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE


In a bid to alleviate escalating tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan, a delegation of religious scholars, headed by the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam (JUI-F) chief Mullana Fazal Ur Rehman, is set to depart for the Afghan capital on January 3, a reliable source from Kabul confirmed.

The source, in a conversation over the phone, told The Express Tribune that the Ministry of Interior and the Foreign Office have finalised the arrangements for various meetings, focusing primarily on addressing the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) issue and resolving tensions between Kabul and Islamabad. The strategy reportedly involves leveraging religious influence to meet Islamabad's demands.

It is anticipated that the religious scholars, under the leadership of Fazl, will engage in private discussions with representatives of the TTP. The aim is to formulate the framework for dialogue and gather perspectives on a range of topics, the source added.

Read more: Fazl invited to Kabul amid rising tensions

The delegation will comprise religious scholars from diverse regions, including Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Karachi. However, there is a possibility that Maulana Fazl may curtail his participation due to the intensifying election process in the country, the source revealed.

Earlier this month, Maulana Fazl was invited by the Afghan government to travel to Kabul. The formal invitation from the Afghan government was delivered to the JUI-F chief by the Afghan envoy, who met him in Islamabad. A spokesperson for the JUI-F informed The Express Tribune that Maulana Fazl had accepted the invitation.

The ongoing tensions stem from repeated attacks inside Pakistan by the outlawed TTP and its affiliates from across the border.

Following the December 12 terrorist attack in DI Khan that resulted in the martyrdom of 23 soldiers, Pakistan lodged a strong protest with Kabul. This incident marked the deadliest attack in a decade.

Several Afghan Taliban members, including government officials, have received education from seminaries managed by the JUI-F. Some analysts speculate that Pakistan might leverage the influence of the JUI-F chief to address the TTP issue.

Previously, the JUI-F chief visited Qatar to engage with Afghan Taliban leaders during US attempts to negotiate a peace deal.


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