LAHORE: In an effort to involve Afghan President Hamid Karzai effectively in efforts to make the Afghan Taliban agree to holding talks for peace in the region, Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is likely to visit Kabul next week to meet him.
“We have learnt through reliable sources that Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to visit Afghanistan next week where he will primarily discuss with Hamid Karzai the core issues relating to talks with Taliban,” Muhammad Asim Makhdoom, Central Information Secretary of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Samiul Haq), said on Friday.
Sharif had formally contacted and requested Maulana Samiul Haq to use his influence in bringing Taliban to the negotiating table.
Senator Tariq Azeem, the PML-N leader, confirmed that the prime minister might visit Kabul soon.
“Yes, the prime minister has formally accepted the invitation extended by Afghan President recently. He (Mian Sahib) has decided to go there and dates of the visit are yet to be confirmed,” Azeem added.
The two leaders, he said, would discuss various issues, including talks with Taliban, in a broader spectrum.
The JUI-S leader said that although Sharif had earlier requested Maulana Sami to play a role in arranging talks between Taliban and the Pakistan government, but later kept quiet.
In the meanwhile, the US forces killed Waliur Rehman, an important leader of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, in a drone attack which, he said, shook Taliban’s trust in the Pakistani initiative.
He said his party firmly believed that the Taliban could be brought to the negotiating table if the PML-N government succeeded in getting the US drone attacks stopped immediately.
“Since the US and Pakistan are seeking talks with the Taliban, we will have to ensure that drone attacks are stopped first. Therefore, the new government will have to be serious if it really wants to resolve the issue,” Makhdoom said.
JUI chief Maulana Samiul Haq said Afghan President Hamid Karzai was a helpless man and not in a position to resolve the issue.
“In this case the actual parties are Americans and Sharif should talk to them if he is really interested in resolving the issue. Karzai has no power to take a decision on such important issues,” he said.
He said the killing of Waliur Rehman in a US drone attack had shattered the trust of the Taliban leaders and the PML-N government would have to reassure them by forcing the US to stop drone attacks before any talks could be held.