ISLAMABAD, Feb 13: Pakistan Ulema Council chairman Allama Tahir Ashrafi has announced that he would attend an Ulema conference in Kabul only after Taliban representatives are invited to it.

Speaking at a news conference at the National Press Club here on Wednesday, he said in his opinion Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar was a freedom fighter struggling against foreign invasion in Afghanistan.

He said that although most of the religious parties and groups had boycotted a peace conference held in Islamabad this week, he attended it at the request of the foreign affairs ministry because it looked odd that a delegation of Afghan Ulema was participating in it but Pakistani Ulema had refused to become part of dialogue.

“I realised that Afghan Ulema were not serious about the dialogue and they were being dictated to by officials of the Afghan embassy. Now these Ulema are inviting us to visit Kabul,” he said.

Allama Tahir said a number of religious parties and groups, including Wafaqul Madaris and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F, had already announced their boycott of Afghan Ulema conference.

He said the Pakistan Ulema Council was not a representative of the Afghan Taliban, adding that without representation of the Taliban all efforts for peace would be a futile exercise.

“Afghan Taliban are major stakeholders and they should be included in the dialogue. If the United States can hold negotiations with the Taliban, why the Afghans cannot do so,” he asked.

Besides, he said, the agenda of the Afghan Ulema conference should be clear.

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