Indonesia Conference: Another milestone to bring peace in Afghanistan

Arif Qureshi

The Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) hosted a Trilateral Ulema Conference of Indonesia, Afghanistan and Pakistan having title “Islam as Rahmatan lil Alamin, Peace and Stability in Afghanistan”, at the Istana Bogor Palace, in Jakarta. Among  the six Presidential Palaces the Istana Bogor was especially chosen for this meeting, as this palace had played a vital role in brokering peace in the past. That palace hosted three famous peace initiatives in the past, as Jakarta Informal Meeting between factions of Cambodia in 1988, Mediation of Thai-Cambodian Conflict in 2011, MILF-MNLF special session in 2012 and now a Trilateral Ulema Conference of Indonesia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2018.

20-member delegation of Afghanistan Ulema Council led by Mawlawi Qeyamuddin Kashaf a 15-member delegation of Pakistani Ulema and scholars headed by Dr Qibla Ayaz, the chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology took parted in moot.

Dr Qibla Ayaz, the chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII),  Dr. Zai ul Haq, Director General Islamic Research Institute (IRI),  the deputy chief of Madrassa Haqqania, Akora Khattak, Maulana Anwarul Haq, and his son Salmanul Haq, Maulana Sheikh Idrees a senior teacher at Haqqania,  Shah Owais Noorani, head Jamiat Ulema Pakistan, Senator Sajid Mir of Markazi Jamiat Ahal Haidth, Maulana Fazalur Rehman Khalil, head of Ansarul Ummah Pakistan, Dr Attaur Rehman of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Allama Yasin Zafar a teacher of Jamia Salafia Faisalabad, Allama Qazi Niaz Hussain Naqvi of Wafaqul Madaris Al- Madris Shia, Peer Maulana Azizur Rehman Hazarvi, Mufti Naeem of Jamia Banoria Karachi, Mufti Ghulamur Rehman, Sahibzada Zahid Qasmi of Markazi Ulema Council and the rector of the International Islamic University Islamabad Dr. Masoom Yasinzai were part of pakistani delegation who participated in Jakarta moot.

President of Indonesia  Joko Widodo in his opening address said that this meeting of  Ulema for Indonesia, Pakistan and Afghanistan is part of Indonesia’s commitment to promote the ulemas’ role in bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan.  Citing the meeting Joko Widodo said we know the efforts to create peace are never easy but we should not lose hope give up efforts, and as people of faith, we must believe in help from God. He added that the ulemas could better promote peace, as they were model figures that most Muslim adherents followed and listened to, and also possessed the authority “to shape the Muslim image”.

In his remarks, the President also emphasized that peace and stability in Afghanistan had been Indonesia’s long-standing goal, he also “strongly condemned” the planned relocation of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “I urge other countries not to follow [the US’s] move, which has disrupted the peace process,” Jokowi said, adding that Palestine was on “each Indonesian’s breath.”

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi through her twitter account said that the United States welcomed the initiative of Indonesia for hosting trilateral Ulema conference, as Deputy Secretary Sullivan conveyed US appreciation for Indonesia’s leadership  to host the Trilateral Ulama Meeting in Bogor.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, met with Deputy Secretary of United States John J. Sullivan on the side line of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires in late May. The US state department issued the statement regarding the meeting of both leaders saying deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan met with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on the margins of the G20 Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting in Buenos Aires. Deputy Secretary Sullivan and Foreign Minister Marsudi reaffirmed the U.S.-Indonesia Strategic Partnership and a shared commitment to combat terrorism.

The Deputy Secretary and Indonesian Foreign Foreign Minister discussed additional regional and global issues, including Indonesia’s helpful efforts to encourage peaceful resolution of conflicts. According to Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Deputy Secretary of United States John J. Sullivan mentioned the commitment of the US on the implementation of Strategic Partnership between US-Indonesia and Deputy Secretary Sullivan conveyed US appreciation for Indonesia’s leadership to host the Trilateral Ulama Meeting in Bogor regarding pace process in Afghanistan.

Carrying the theme “Islam as Rahmatan lil Alamin, Peace and Stability in Afghanistan”, more that 60 prominent ulema of Indonesia, Afghanistan and Pakistan discussed on five point agenda in detailed such as 1-Peace and friendship in Islam 2-Violent extremism and ai’tidal (tolerance) 3- The role of ulema 4- The role of the state  3-The way forward will become the agenda of the conference.

After the meeting a 12 twelve point joint declaration titled, Bogar ulema Declaration for Peace issued with consensus. Head of Indonesian Ulema Council Ma’ruf Amin, Head of Ulema Council of Afghanistan Qiamuddin Kashaf and Chairman of Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology Qibla Ayaz played a vital role to reach final agreement. Before issuing joint declaration Ulema from Afghanistan, Indonesia, and the Pakistan discussed the current challenges faced by Muslim in Afghanistan and other parts of the world. Guided by the principles of solidarity and unity, as well as inspired by the spirit of brotherhood.

They reiterated the commitment to help nurturing peace in Afghanistan and the Muslim world. Considering that for decades, people in Afghanistan have suffered from long and arduous trials and tribulations. Despite all hardships, they never lost hope in their struggle for peace. They continue to demonstrate the best quality of human resilience and nobility as a strong nation and faithful Muslims. They expressed their support for a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan and deliberated on how Ulema could play their role in establishing a conducive environment supportive to the peace process.

Dr Qibla Ayaz, the chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology commenting on the peace conference, “Islam as Rahmatan lil Alamin, Peace and Stability in Afghanistan” said it was a great success of Pakistan that its national narrative against extremism and terrorism Paigham-e-Pakistan was not only appreciated in conference but also included as a part of Bogar Ulema Joint Declaration.

The chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology said we welcome the  initiative taken by President of Indonesia for peace and stability in Afghanistan through will ultimately whole region benefit. We are aslo thankful to Indonesian government and Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) who facilitated a central role for Pakistan in afghan peace process.  Dr. Qibla Ayaz was of the opinion that the issue could not be solved by a single conference, Certainly if this process begins, keep it rolling and make other counties part of it, then the situation will get on the right track.

Indonesian ambassador to Pakistan, Mr Iwan Suyudhie Amri commenting through a text message to local news paper “Daily Times” said that the conference is aimed at promoting peace in Afghanistan, “We know it is a complex issue. For Indonesia, we just would like to see peace so as to embark on development both in Pakistan and Afghanistan”.

Although there were rumors before the conference that Afghan Taliban wished Indonesia not hold that moot but Vice President of Indonesia Jusuf Kalla announced during conference that Taliban were not opposing rather supported the gathering.

The key feature of the conference was the support of the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as announced by President Ashraf Ghani during the Kabul Peace Process, February 2018 for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, the conference also endorsed an Antiterrorism Fatwa Paigham-e-Pakistan decree, or fatwa of 1,800 Pakistani in which they condemned the suicide attacks and terrorism in all forms in Pakistan and message of peace in Afghanistan expressed by Vice President of Indonesia Jusuf Kalla at the 2nd Kabul Peace Process Conference in Afghanistan, last February.

It is reminded that Peace and stability in Afghanistan has been Indonesia’s long-standing commitment and a vital point of its foreign policy, as clearly reflected President Joko Widodo’s recent state visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan last January, In the meetings with Presidents Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan and Mamnoon Hussain of Pakistan, as well as with Prime Minister Shahid Abbasi of Pakistan, President Widodo conveyed a proposal to hold a trilateral ulema conference in Indonesia. The proposal was welcomed and received favorable support. And now in his opening remarks President Joko Widodo once again reiterated the commitment of his country to keep continue efforts to bring peace in Afghanistan and holding that trilateral peace conference by Indonesia showed its commitment and seriousness to bring peace in Afghanistan.

Arif Qureshi is an editor of daily online [thefortress.com.pk] he can be reached at arifqoreshi@gmail.com

This article was published in May edition of News Magazine “The Fortress”

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