ISLAMABAD - The fate of Afghanistan-Pakistan joint Ulema Conference originally scheduled for January still hangs in balance, as there are no signs that Kabul and Islamabad would be able to convene the important event this month.
Sources privy to the slow paced efforts told TheNation on Sunday that Afghanistan has to send a delegation of prominent Ulema to work out agenda of the conference in consultation with Pakistani counterpart.
“There are no signs on ground about the schedule of the visit of Afghan Ulema, therefore, it is difficult to say anything about the prospects of meeting the January timeline of the Kabul conference jointly agreed by Afghanistan and Pakistan in November,” diplomatic sources said. On the other hand, sources in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs still believe that the crucial conference that is part of the reconciliation process in Afghanistan would take place this month. “We are still hopeful that we’ll be able to have this Ulema conference in January, and I understand that concerned people are in touch with the Afghan authorities to finalize the dates and composition of the delegation from Pakistan,” Foreign Office spokesman Muazzam Ahmed Khan said. Some other sources maintained that Kabul and Islamabad have belatedly stepped up efforts to ensure that the Ulema Conference takes place as per the agreed schedule.
They believed that a senior Afghan Embassy official has recently met with JUI(F) Ameer Maulana Fazalur Rehman and JUI(S) Ameer Maulana Samiul Haq and sought their input to make the proposed conference meaningful event. The sources privy to these developments were of the view that the Afghan diplomat would also meet other religious leaders in the coming days to push forward the process in a bid to ensure that joint Ulema Conference could be held later this month. Meanwhile, it was learnt that both Kabul and Islamabad were also trying to ensure that Saudi Arabia also play its role in facilitating Afghan-owned and Afghan-led reconciliation process and send a high profile Ulema delegation to participate in the conference. The sources were confidant that the Ulema Conference would take place no matter it was delayed for some time with a view to making reconciliation in Afghanistan a productive and meaningful process.