(Pajhwok): The content of the political agreement between President Ashraf Ghani and Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HNRC) Abdullah Abdullah and experts’ views suggest that the HNRC is final authority to make decisions on the peace process and related matters The HNRC came into being as a result of the political agreement between Ghani and Abdullah after the latter rejected the result of the 2019 presidential elections, alleging fraud and rigging. Political experts hold different views regarding the powers of HNRC which held its first meeting on Saturday six months after its inception. President Ghani and HNRC Chairman Abdullah Abdullah co-chaired the Saturday’s meeting at the Presidential Palace. On August 29, 2020, President Ashraf Ghani announced the HNRC under chairmanship of Abdullah Abdullah. The president also decreed the leadership and political committee members of the council. The members are divided in four categories — 19 non-governmental figures, nine government figures, eight women members and 10 leadership members. Among the non-government faces are former President Hamid Karzai, Jihadi Leader Abdul RabRasoulSayyaf, HIA supreme leader GulbuddinHikmatyar, Abdul KarimKhalili, Mohammad Mohaqiq, Abdul Rashid Dostum, Mohammad YounisQanoni, SalahuddinHikmatyar, Mohammad Ismael Khan, Atta Mohammad Noor, Syed Hamid Gilani, ZabihullahMujadidi, Syed Mansour Naderi, EnatyatullahShahrani, Eng. Mohmamd Khan, Dr. SadiqMudabir, Mohamma Ismael Ghazanfar and MaulviKhudidad. The head of Ulema Council name was also mentioned but not written in the decree. The governmental figures in the HNRC include the names of Presidential Deputies Saleh and Danish and followed by Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar, Wolesi Jirga Chairman Mir Rahman Rahmani, Senate Chairman Fazal Hadi Muslimyar, Presidential Advisor Haji Almas Zahid and Mulvi Jora Tahiri and State Minister for Peace Affairs. Safia Sediqi, Najiba Ayubi, Mari Akrami, Zia Gul Rezae, Alya Yalmaz, Farida Moman, Sherin Oriakhel and ZarqaYaftali are women members of the council. Abdullah Abdullah, Abdul Salam Rahimi, Enayatullah Farahmand, Asadullah Saadati, Eng. Zahra Mutahri, Attaullah Saleem, Haji Din Mohammad, Mohammad Akram Khapalwak, Mohammad Masoum Stanikzai and Anwar ulHaq Ulomi are leadership committee members of the council. After HNRC member’s announcement, Abdullah rejected the structure and stated that in line with the political agreement, it was his authority to compose the council. After consultations, the names of Rahmatullah Nabil, Syed IshaqGilani, Farkhuda Zahra Naderi and Shahzada Shahid’s were also added to the leadership committee, but a well-placed source said government apposed the inclusion of Nabil and Gilani one day prior to the inaugural meeting of the council when invitation letters had not been dispatched to them. The NHRC should hold authority for final decisions on peace At Saturday’s meeting, Abdullah said the philosophy behind the inception of this council was taking final decisions and developing political consensus on peace process. Spokesperson for HNRC Faridon Khwazon said the council administered matters relating to peace process and taking final decisions. He said final decisions would be a collective thing in which all parties would be involved. Mohammad Younis Qanoni, HNRC member and former member of Wolesi Jirga, during his speech at the Saturday meeting, stressed on the need for a single address to take decisions regarding peace process and added: “I emphasize final decisions regarding peace process should be logically and meaningfully transferred to the HNRC.” Hafeez Mansour, member of the Afghan government negotiating team during an exclusive interview with 1TV regarding the power and authority of HNRC, said: Presidential Palace has no powers of its own. In line with Ghani and Abdullah political agreement, the negotiating team should respond to the HNRC. I want to say this again that the source which shall decide about the pros and corns of peace process is the HNRC.” Head of the Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) Gulbuddin Hikmatyar and Head of the Jamiat-e-Islami Afghanistan (JIA) Salahuddin Hikmatyar did not attend the inaugural meeting of the HNRC. Hikmatyar said: “We have some questions. Who picked members of this council? With whom their appointment was consulted? Is this selection is on the basis of 50/50 percentage between the two teams? Is HNRC is the final body on peace process or it just offers guidance and the final decision would be in the hands of the Presidential Palace.” He said if his questions were answered and a powerful high decision making council was created which have the authority to take final decision on all national issues, then his party would take an reasonable decision regarding participation in its huddles. JIA Spokesperson Abdul Fatah Ahmadzai said Salahuddin Rabani did not participate in the inaugural meeting of the HNRC because the body held no authority to take decision on the peace process.