PESHAWAR - The leaders of various political parties in a grand Pakhtun jirga urged the United States and Nato to pull out their troops from Afghanistan and hand over power to Afghan people so that durable peace could be restored in the region.

The Grand Qami Jirga was convened by veteran politician Afzal Khan Lala here at Neshtar Hall Peshawar, wherein the representatives of various political parties and tribal elders participated. Those who were present on the occasion included Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, KPK Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, PPP provincial leader Senator Sardar Ali, Pakistan Muslim League (N) Provincial General Secretary Rahmat Salam Khattak, JUI Provincial Information Secretary Abdul Jalil Jan, Member of National Assembly Jamila Gillani, President of National Party Mukhtiar Bacha and Senator Haji Adeel. 

Addressing the jirga, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti linked peace in Pakistan to peace in Afghanistan. He pointed out that despite cooperation with each other there was still a lack of confidence between Afghan and Pakistan government. He said after the withdrawal of Nato troops both the governments should jointly play a prominent role to restore peace in Afghanistan and these forces must acknowledge the role of Pakistan and Afghanistan in the restoration of peace in the war-torn country.

Regarding reforms in Fata, the Chief Minister said that both political and administrative reforms were needed to be introduced in Fata and in these reforms the people of Fata should be given due participation to decide their fate.

He appreciated the effort of Afzal Khan Lala in uniting Pakhtuns of the region and said that such jirgas played a significant role to resolve the lasting disputes. He said if Pakhtuns followed the old tradition of these jirgas then there would be no need for military operations. He said Pakhtuns must identify those elements, who were shedding the blood of innocent people and were a hurdle in the way of peace, adding that without peace the survival of Pakhtuns would be at stake.

The Chief Minister termed holding of the jirga important on this critical juncture of the history, saying that it gave opportunity to national leaders for mutual consultation for peace. He termed representation of different political parties in the jirga satisfactory and said that current situation demanded collective efforts regardless of political affiliations. He said the political parties of the province always guided the government on the situation in Malakand division, which faced various problems including flooding, net hydel profit and other important decisions. He hoped that these customs of Pakhtun nation would continue in future. He said the recommendation of peace jirga would help deciding future line of action after valuable sacrifices of Pakhtun nation.

 Pakistan People Party Provincial President Senator Sardar Ali also mentioned the factors responsible for deteriorating situation in the country and said that no factory of weapons exist in Fata but they should think that from where these weapons are coming and who are patronizing the supply of weapons for deteriorating the peace of this region. He said that the people of FATA have rendered innumerable sacrifices as previously they were pushed in the war of others and now in the war against terrorism.

Rahmat Salam Khattak of PML-N said that Pakhtun region is enriched with natural resources but unfortunately they were not allowed to utilize these resources for their well being saying that from the last forty years they are confronted with instability and lawlessness. He said that organizing such gathering to resolve Pakhtun problems are very necessary and the credit goes to Afzal Khan Lala who played prominent role in convening this jirga.

President of Mazdoor Kissan Party Afzal Khamosh said that peace in Afghanistan could not be restored until the coalition forces remain there. He said that for the last several years, each house of Pakhtuns was in grief and thousands of people were killed and thousands others were injured but no one identified the elements involved in this massacre.

He said on the one hand Pakhtuns rendered sacrifices while on the other hand the US was undermining these sacrifices and terming them terrorists. He conveyed to international community that Pakhtuns were a peaceful nation but unfortunately they had been pushed in the war of others.

Fanoos Gojar of Awami Party Pakistan urged upon Pakhtuns to shun their differences and unite for the cause of their survival. He said that peace in Afghanistan is the prosperity of Pakistan and until peace could not be restore till to the restoration of peace in Afghanistan.

Provincial Information Secretary of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Abdul Jalil Jan said that through a well hatched conspiracy Pakhtun have been divided to Mulvi and Pakhtune but both of them are one nation and one could not neglect the role of Mulvi in Pakhtun society. He said that they have to avoid this deference and forge unity among their ranks to defeat the infidel forces that are getting advantages from our factions and sectarianism and thinking for divide and rule.

Prominent tribal leaders Nesar Lala, Sardar Jamal-ud-Din Wazir, Muzafar Mohmand, Malik Nader Manan of Bajaur agency, Zeb-un-Nesa of Bajaur agency, Darya Khan Afridi and other addressed the occasion.