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LANDI KOTAL: Elders from different tribal regions have said that the tribesmen want peaceful and cordial relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan and would collectively foil any attempt by India to interfere in brotherly relations of the two neighboring countries.

A jirga was held at Jamrud Sport Complex on Sunday in response to similar gatherings held in Jalalabad and Kabul wherein the Afghan tribal elders along with some representatives from Fata had reportedly chided the government of Pakistan for starting fencing of its border with Afghanistan.

The Jamrud jirga, which was participated by elders from almost all the seven tribal regions, accused Afghan President Ashraf Ghani of following the Indian policy concerning its relations with Pakistan. They vowed to resist any move aimed at denting the traditional and historic relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The speakers at the jirga reminded the Kabul government that fencing of the border was started in order to stop cross-border movement of militants. They said that a better border management policy between the two countries would help in controlling and checking illegal cross-border movement of militants and would result in improvement of law and order situation on both sides of the border.

The jirga took strong exception to the alleged participation of some Pakistani tribal elders in similar gatherings in Kabul and Jalalabad and resolved to take stern action against them under the tribal traditions.

The jirga through a unanimous resolution demanded of the federal government to constitute a representative jirga of all tribal regions and authorise it to hold meaningful talks with the Afghan leaders for a permanent solution to issues relating to joint borders between the two countries.

Though the jirga was well-attended, local parliamentarians were conspicuous by their absence despite a formal invitation to all of them.

Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2017