By Arif Qoreshi
Islamabad: There are speculations and rumors in Islamabad that it was Saudi Arabia who granted the fresh deal between Afghanistan High Peace Council and Pakistan on the request of United States, a high placed source prior to diplomatic circles of Islamabad claimed.
“Saudi Arabia had been playing a big role in the Afghan reconciliation efforts at the special request of the US government, the deal between Kabul and Islamabad for the prisoners’ release could be facilitated by Riyadh”, he added on the condition not to be named.
He also disclosed that Riyadh invited many key Taliban and Afghan leaders residing in Pakistan as a special guest of King Abdullah to perform hajj this year.
It is confirmed now one of the key component of Taliban the Jamaat al Da’awa Quran wal Sunnah present Amir Haji Hayat Ullaha had played vital role between Taliban and Riyadh. And he was among those who were invited by Riyadh to perform hajj.
The Salafist Jamatud Dawa of Afghanistan then led by Sheikh Jamilur Rehman who once ruled the most sensitive province Kunar of Afghanistan after the withdraw of Russians from Afghanistan is now active under the Taliban command.
It is worth mentioning that the late Sheikh Jamilur Rehman and Lahkar Taiba head Hafiz Mohmmad Saeed were among those who took part in Afghan Jihad under the command of Osama Bin Laden. And Hafiz Saeed then supported the Shariah In Kunar province then was announced by late Sheihk Jamilur Rehman.
United states also blamed Hafiz Saeed’s led Lashkar Taiba is involved against NATO forces in Afghanistan with the partnership of Haqqani Network.
First times all the stakeholders of Afghan peace process , Washington, Islamabad, Kabul and Taliban welcomed the release of former Taliban leaders who were detained by Pakistan security agencies from years.
United States Deputy Chief of Mission in Islamabad Richard Hoagland hailed the Pakistan’s decision to set free several Afghan Taliban prisoners saying that Pakistan can play a vital role in Afghanistan reconciliation process. Talking to media in Islamabad, Hoagland said that the US had already asked Afghan government to pursue reconciliation process. He stressed upon the release of those groups who abide by the law of Afghan government.
Afghanistan’s president praised Pakistan on Tuesday for releasing a group of Taliban prisoners, the praise came in a meeting between President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan’s powerful army chief of staff, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, who is in Kabul for a one-day visit.
The Washington post an influence news paper of united states says that pakistan is seen as key to the peace process.
Pakistan has so far released at least nine Taliban prisoners. The most prominent was former Justice Minister Nooruddin Turabi, who served when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s. Afghan officials said last week that the Pakistanis have agreed to release others as well.
The release is seen as a signal that Pakistan might be willing to take concrete steps to revive efforts to lure the Taliban to the negotiating table to work out an agreement before international forces hand over security duties to the Afghans by the end of 2014.
The Afghan Taliban for the first time on Friday formally welcomed the release of the prisoners and termed it a positive step by the Pakistan government. According to media reports Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid hoped the remaining Taliban prisoners too would be released. Arguing that the Taliban detained by the Pakistani authorities had committed no crime in the country, he said officials of the Taliban-run Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan usually come to Pakistan for medical treatment and other needs. He pointed out that Afghan refugees have been living in Pakistan for the last three decades and moving across the Pak-Afghan border frequently.
Now Pakistan also have high hopes from united nations to endorse what said in a joint statement issued by Pakistan and Afghanistan demanded to work closely with other international partners to remove the names from the UN sanctions list of the potential negotiators amongst Taliban and other groups to enable them to participate in peace talks.
The writer is an editor of thefortress.com.pk