Afghanistan and Pakistan are planning conferences of religious scholars to explore ways for their role in peace and reconciliation in the war-shattered country, officials of the two countries said on Sunday. President Ashraf Ghani’s special envoy Umer Daudzai discussed the proposal in meetings during his recent visit to Pakistan. Council of Islamic Ideology Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz told Daily Times that Pakistan supports all efforts for peace in Afghanistan and will positively respond to Kabul’s proposal for ulema meetings in Islamabad and Kabul. “We have suggested Afghanistan to send some scholars for preliminary discussions with Pakistani ulema,” he said, adding that he assured the Afghan envoy that a joint ulema conference is very much possible. He said Afghanistan will send scholars by March this year. Afghan High Peace Council Spokesman Ihsanullah Taheri said in Kabul that the Afghan side has reached an understanding with the CII chairman on the Pak-Afghan ulema conference to be held in Islamabad. Kabul wants Pakistani scholars to issue a fatwa against violence in Afghanistan like the one they issued in January last year which described suicide attacks in Pakistan against the teachings of Islam. Pakistan has reportedly shared a draft of the joint declaration to be issued by scholars of the two countries but has not received Kabul’s response so far. The draft was shared with the Afghan side nearly two months ago and Pakistan drew attention of Afghan envoy during his meetings with Pakistani officials last week. Members of the peace council and Afghan clerics council visited Pakistan in September last year and held talks with senior Pakistani scholars on a joint ulema conference. However, there has been no progress so for. Published in Daily Times, January 14th 2019.