Musharraf To Attend Peace “jirga”
Posted by nytexan on August 10, 2007
LAHORE, Pakistan (CNN) — Pakistan’s president has “agreed in principle” to address the closing session of the current joint Afghan-Pakistani meeting that he originally declined to attend, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said Friday.
The meeting, a “joint peace jirga,” is being held in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Gen. Pervez Musharraf was to attend but bowed out at the last minute.
However, there had been indications that he might try to get there.
The ministry issued a statement saying Afghan President Hamid Karzai phoned Musharraf on Friday night and invited him “to attend the closing session of the joint peace jirga.”
“President Karzai said that the president’s personal participation would be a source of support and encouragement for the jirga process. The president agreed in principle to address the closing session of the joint peace jirga,” the ministry said.
The Pakistani leader, whose nearly eight-year rule is being challenged by opposition activists and Islamic militants, cited “engagements in the capital” for his
A crisis had been brewing in Pakistan at the time he called Karzai and told him he couldn’t make a personal appearance.
Pakistani leaders were considering the imposition of a state of emergency because of the growing security threats in the country’s lawless tribal regions.
But Musharraf, influenced in part by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, held off on the move.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz leads the Pakistani delegation at the event.
Relations between Musharraf and Karzai have been chilly for some time, as Afghan officials have accused Pakistan of allowing Taliban and al Qaeda fighters to regroup and carve out a new safe haven along Pakistan’s largely lawless northwestern frontier.
The three-day jirga — which is a tribal assembly — opened Thursday. The two presidents initiated the process for the jirga last September.