Published on 27 May 2011 at 01:39
An Interview with Farhad Azimi, Second Secretary for the Lower House of the Parliament, who speaks of the dangerous political games now being played between the government and the legislature.
What has the Lower House of the Parliament done so far?
The Lower House has worked on different laws and other measures; but it has failed to achieve what was expected.
Some individuals inside the government are afraid of the presence of critics in the Lower House. They began plotting against the Parliament as soon as the electoral commissions announced the final results of the elections.
As a result, they established the Special Court, which is against the Constitution and all national and international norms. They wanted to force the Lower House to stop its monitoring of the government’s activities.
I can say with certainty that the Lower House has been totally paralyzed by the government and is unable to do anything.
Who are these individuals and who is supporting them?
They are in high-ranking positions in President Karzai’s administration. They, unfortunately, have challenged the Lower House with the support of some MPs who put their ethnic interests above national interests.
When an MP votes to summon a minister to answer for his or her actions, the government warns the MP to withdraw the vote or else be forced out of the Parliament by the Special Court. Therefore, an MP who has no political support will certainly withdraw his or her vote.
Why are the MPs afraid of such pressure when they came to the Lower House through the votes of the people?
I do not agree with this question. I could answer this question if the Special Court was legitimate and worked legally. How can we trust this court, which has been illegally formed and wants to annul the legitimate votes of people’s real candidates, and recount the votes in favor of losing candidates?
This clearly shows that some government officials are violating the Constitution, and want to talk with the people’s representatives through force.
This court was established based on the request of those candidates who were not able to receive more than 300 votes in the Kabul constituency or in Ghazni, where there was no election at all, except in the provincial capital, but candidates claimed to receive 20,000 votes.
We, (the MPs), said clearly that the court was formed illegally and those in charge of the process are trying to filter the candidates using ethnic interests.
These individuals inside the government want to show that people are brought into power or dismissed at their discretion, and if anyone stands against them they will be kicked out.
We have experienced several elections, of which the last presidential elections were the most challenging, but no court was formed at that time, No one would oppose this court if it was truly impartial and was nor based on ethnic interests.
The Lower House voted that the Special Court was illegitimate, but it still continues its work. Why is this?
Parliamentarians voted with a large majority that the court was illegitimate and asked the president to terminate it. But, as I mentioned before, the government wants to keep it as an instrument of pressure on the Parliament and this has resulted in paralyzing the Lower House.
The Lower House summoned the Attorney General to answer about the formation of the Special Court. But the Parliamentarians withdrew their decision when he agreed to attend the Parliament after two days. Why is this?
Unfortunately, there are some MPs in the Lower House who are puppets of the government. When a number of MPs, particularly non-Pashtun, propose an issue for discussion at a general session, these other MPs will give it an ethnic dimension and create tension between Parliamentarians. The issue of summoning the Attorney General faced the same scenario.
Mr. Azimi, some analysts believe that the reason for deciding not to summon the Attorney General was because of a deal between a number of MPs. Can you confirm this?
I neither confirm nor deny it . Maybe some MPs made such deals but in my opinion the main reasons were government pressure and ethnic interests.
Seven government ministries are still chaired by acting ministers; why have new candidates not been nominated?
In a meeting with the president, I personally proposed this issue. The president promised to introduce them in a week but nothing has happened yet.
It is said that the Special Court’s final decision will result in the exclusion of some Parliamentarians. What will be your position if the court renders such a decision?
From the Lower House’s points of view, the Special Court is not a legitimate entity. Therefore, any decision taken by this court is illegal and unacceptable.
We told the president that the country will fall into a political crisis if the government accepts the Special Court’s final decision.
The government will be in violation of the Constitution if it does not dissolve the court.
On the other hand, the existence of the Special Court weakens the Parliament and this in itself endangers the people and the country.
It is said that President Hamid Karzai wants to call a Loya jirga (Grand Assembly) to discuss some important national issues. According to the Constitution, he cannot summon a Loya jirga now. Will it be legitimate if he does so?
The president can ask the people’s opinion and this could have a more consultative nature rather than a physical implementation. But if the president calls a Loya jirga to talk about major internal and external national issues and then implements their decisions, it will be against the Constitution and we will call it illegitimate. National issues should be debated with legal entities like the Parliament.
I think that ignoring the current injustice in the country, isolating the Parliament, the unbalanced distribution of political power and disregarding Parliament’s decisions will lead the country into crisis.
The Afghan government is going to sign a strategic compact with the United States of America. What will be the position of the Parliament in this regard?
In my opinion, the Afghan government as well as the Parliament should consider national interests in such situations. Having such a superpower as a strategic partner is vital for Afghanistan since the country has always been threatened by its neighbors.
We should do those things that can assure our national interests. As quoted by (National Security Adviser Rangin Dadfar) Spanta, we do need to consult with our southern neighbors if they try to further their interests by promoting insecurity in our country.
- Afghanistan Rejects Talks With Taliban and the US - New York Times
- Afghanistan suspends security talks with US - CNN
- Afghan Leader Halts Talks With US, Taliban - Wall Street Journal (India)
- Officials: 4 US troops killed in Afghanistan - USA TODAY
- US, Taliban to hold Afghanistan peace talks in Qatar office this week ... - Fox News
- Peace talks on tap between Taliban, Afghanistan - CBS News
- Afghanistan Suspends US Security Talks - Voice of America
- US Promises Smooth Transfer of Quagmire from Afghanistan to Syria - New Yorker
- US Military Deaths in Afghanistan at 2103 - ABC News
- Afghanistan 'suspends security talks' with US - Aljazeera.com