Odd decision to make journalists Jirga members -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Odd decision to make journalists Jirga members

PESHAWAR: Eleven journalists were selected by the government and named members of Pakistani Jirga for participation in the Pak-Afghan Peace Jirga beginning in Kabul today.

It was a strange and unusual decision to make journalists members of the Jirga instead of letting them do their professional job as reporters and broadcasters. A few of them dropped out when they came to know about inclusion of their names as jirga members and opted not to travel to Kabul for the event.

It appears that the government was in a hurry to finalise the list of 350 people to represent Pakistan at the Jirga in Kabul. The list was never officially released and made public. Many Jirga members didn’t know until departure time about others going to Kabul.

Pakistan’s slow and haphazard preparations for the Kabul Jirga were in evidence in the run-up to the event. More than 60 Jirga members from North Waziristan and South Waziristan boycotted the meeting in Kabul as a mark of protest against the military operations in their area. They said their own house was on fire and expecting them to resolve Afghanistan’s problems at this point in time was unfair.

Several other Jirga members including tribal elders, members of parliament from FATA, academics and journalists dropped out from the Pakistani delegation but nobody from the government bothered to ask them the reason for their decision not to attend the Kabul Jirga. The Jirga members were also not properly briefed and prepared to understand the dynamics of the Jirga so that they could participate meaningfully in the event.

President General Pervez Musharraf’s eleventh hour decision not to attend the Jirga in Kabul drastically reduced the importance of the event and lowered whatever little expectations one had about the jirga’s outcome. It was now obvious that the jirga was by and large an exercise in futility.
Source: The News
Date:8/9/2007