Published on 28 Jul 2011 at 11:07
An Interview with www.bamdad.af Moein Shah Haqani, the Deputy Head of Nangarhar Provincial Council talks about the Council performance and achievements.
Could you explain briefly the duties and responsibilities of the Nangarhar Provincial Council?
Nangarhar Provincial Council has 19 members including 5 women. Based on the councils’ law and regulations, all Provincial Councils have similar duties and responsibilities. One of the main responsibilities of a Provincial Council is to monitor local government’s activities.
Provincial Councils are serving as a bridge between local government and the public. They take part in rooting out conflicts among people and they share their problems with local government entities.
What are the main achievements of the second Provincial Council of Nangarhar Province since it commenced work?
Nangarhar’s second Provincial Council has reached major achievements over one and a half years. In a survey conducted by the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), Nangarhar Provincial Council got the first position.
We have shared lots of issues and problems with local and central government. Most importantly, we reinvestigated a criminal case of a family, which happened five or six years ago. With support of the Nangarhar Department of Public Health, we found out the issues of that case and its results will be soon released.
We have covered many other important issues and shared them with local government to solve. Specifically, we defended women’s rights and worked to fight gender discrimination such as using women as retribution to settle disputes, threatening them with death etc. We consulted with the local government to strictly tackle corruption and implement reforms.
To what extent did the local government, particularly the governor, implement Provincial Council’s decision?
Provincial Council is not a judiciary entity that takes decisions; the Council is a consultative body giving advice to the local government.
In general, there are some cases that resulted in a conflict between the council and the local government officials even though we shared our concerns with the President. For instance, local officials do not report their activities to the council, or the governor takes money in Turkham Border without our agreement. These conflicts are still going on.
Some people complain that Provincial Council members spend much time doing their own business rather than work for the people. What is your opinion?
They are right to some extent. But I myself blame them for such situations. If they are good judges, they could elect capable and talented individuals for Provincial Councils and Parliament.
Unfortunately, many individuals have been elected based on tribal interests as well as on their money and power. This is why people are to blame for such situations.
Fortunately, there are very few individuals in Nangarhar Provincial Council that prefer their own interests.
Reportedly, there were conflicts between the Provincial Council and Nangarhar’s Governor for some time now. What is the reason of these conflicts?
This is true. The Provincial Council and the governor have disputed some issues for one and a half year.
The Provincial Council is the representative body of people in a province and local government, according to the law, should cooperate with the council in solving people’s problems. But the Nangarhar governor does not cooperate with the council and this resulted in conflict between the two bodies.
For instance, the governor has not yet visited Provincial Council members and he should have done so. Similarly, other local officials do not inform the council about their working activities. All these fuel the conflict.
Is there coordination between the local government and Provincial Council?
In general, there is good coordination between the Provincial Council and the local government. But there are some issues that we do not agree on and the council is seeking solutions.
As an example the Provincial Council and local government did not come to an agreement over the dispute raised between two tribes over land in Achin district.
There have been disputes over land between tribes in Shinwar, Rodaat and Behsood districts, which have resulted in casualties. What has the council done so far to solve these disputes?
The dispute over land has been going on for more than two years and has reached its toughest level. The council made every effort to solve the dispute but failed. This is now out of control of the Provincial Council and needs central government’s intervention. But I suggest that this issue should be solved through legal channels.
What have the Provincial Council done so far regarding women problems?
We know that women are suffering different problems in the province. They are using women as payback to settle disputes, or badly punishing them for immoral behaviors. They are deprived from receiving inheritance.
But the council has been making every effort to tackle these problems. We have talked with people and asked them to avoid such illegal and un-Islamic actions.
Nangarhar people want some infrastructure projects in the province. For example, building a dam at the bottom of Spin Gar Mountain, reconstructing the Canal project and building factories to create jobs. As a representative of people did you share their demands with the relevant entities?
Yes, of course! For your information, there was an economic conference held in Nangarhar Province. During the conference we asked for some infrastructure projects including a water dam, reconstruction of the Canal project, building a hospital and other project.
Nangarhar local government and the Provincial Council proposed 32 projects in total for the conference. Relating to our proposals, we were invited to Kabul to share with the president.
In addition to that we have talked with USAID and the Nangarhar Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) to help us solve our electricity problems. Fortunately, both committed to contribute ten million dollars in this regard.
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