KABUL (Pajhwok): There has been no official response to claims circulating in social media that the government has removed Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan leader (HIA) Ghairat Baheer as member of the negotiating team. The unproven claim regarding Ghairat Baheer’s membership revocation follows disinformation spread regarding another delegation member Khalid Noor’s membership revocation.
The Presidential Palace categorically rejected Khalid Noor’s membership revocation. He traveled to Doha on Tuesday alongside other members to participate in the second round of peace talks. The Presidential Palace and other relevant authorities are yet to clarify their positions about cancellation of Baheer’s membership. Baheer is a prominent HIA leader and the son-in-law of the party supremo Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
Baheer, as member of the government negotiating team, has not participated in the negotiations so far because his party has some reservations regarding the ongoing peace process. HIA Leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar also did not participate in the grand meeting of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR). Ghairat Baheer also served as selected member of the Mesharano Jirga — senate — until President Ghani revoked his membership.
According to a well-placed source, Baheer’s membership was revoked after he traveled to Pakistan without government’s permission with HIA Leader Hekmatyar and facilitated Hekmatyar during the trip. For the past three days, claims regarding the revocation of Baheer’s membership have been circulating in social media. Kabul News Channel and Azam website published news that President Ghani has revoked the negotiating team membership of Ghairat Baheer.
Hasht-e-Subh, another newspaper, wrote that President Ghani was stressing over the revocation of Khalid Noor and Ghairat Baheer’s membership as negotiators. Fazal Ghani Haqmal, HIA media wing member, said the Presidential Palace should provide information regarding the revocation of Baheer’s membership. He said Baheer did not participate in the Doha talks in the past and currently because the government delegation did not represent parties that are not part of the government.
HIA Leader Hekmatyar’s Secretary Jamaluddin Eshaqi said the HIA had not received any formal letter from Presidential Palace regarding the revocation of Baheer’s membership, adding that they were hearing about it in social media. “HIA has reservations regarding the structure of the negotiating team, therefore Baheer did not join the team for talks with Taliban in Qatar.”
Assistant Presidential Spokesperson Dawa Khan Menapal said that the State Ministry for Peace Affairs shall be asked regarding the revocation of Baheer’s membership, but the State Ministry referred the matter to Presidential Palace. Faridon Khawazon, spokesperson for HCNR, said he was unaware about the matter and added the delegation was traveling to Doha today without Baheer.
The unproved claim regarding Baheer’s membership revocation follows similar claim about Khalid Noor’s membership. Khalid Noor is the son of Atta Mohammad Noor, the executive head of Jamia-e-Islami Afghanistan and former governor of Balkh. The Presidential Palace termed the news regarding the revocation of Khalid Noor’s membership as wrong and said Noor traveled to Doha on Tuesday alongside other delegation members. A well-placed source, wishing not to be named, said Baheer was interested to remain and work as negotiator but at the behest of Hekmatyar he did not join the delegation, leaving the government with no option but to revoke his membership.
The source said Hekmatyar was irked after not being consulted on Baheer’s nomination by President Ghani as negotiator. The claim that Baheer has been removed as member of the negotiating team remains unproved as the concerned authorities are yet to provide their response in this regard. Ghairat Baheer was reached for commented but he did not respond.