Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Under the Shadow of Democracy

Democratic system is a globally accepted government under which one will be able to exercise his/her rights and freedoms, known in constitution, without barriers. People’s suffrage will determine the president in a fair and transparent election. Parliament, the beating heart of a democratic administration, will represent the true will and determination of the nation. Their moral standards, social norms and cultural values will be mirrored in their constitution. People’s fundamental rights – i.e. the rights to life, liberty and property – will be the most significant issue in their legal system. All individuals will be equal in the eye of law irrespective of their religious, racial, sexual or any other accidental backgrounds.
Violence and bloodshed will have no room within a democratic system and life is highly expensive. The main reason behind establishing law is to protect citizens’ fundamental rights and prevent from anomy. Whenever one violates the individuals’ rights, s/he will have to be prosecuted and punished on the basis of law and no one will be allowed to break law with impunity – be it a simple person or a high-ranking official. Hence, discriminating one for his/her social and political status will be a blow to democracy. Therefore, no one will be beyond law.  
One will find no barriers to practice their freedoms, mainly freedoms of thoughts and expressions. Civil society will monitor the state, on behalf of the nation, to make sure that law is enforced justly and challenge unjust and impolitic exercises of the state. Media and civil society would be given the rights to voice against any social harms and anti-law performances done by state or an individual.
In a democratic system, division of powers is a significant issue. To decentralize power for preventing from despotism, legislative, executive and judicial powers should be established and all the powers will have to work independently. Needless to say, when all powers are centralized under single authority, the power-holder will show tendency towards atrocity and despotism and curtail citizens’ freedom and restrict their rights. In post-Taliban Afghanistan, democracy has taken root to some extent and a constitution based on the religious tenets and moral standards has been approved by nation’s representatives in Loya Jirga on January 03, 2004. This constitution recognizes the natural and unalienable rights of people and their freedom. As a result, article 24 states, “Liberty is the natural right of human beings. This right has no limits unless affecting others freedoms as well as the public interest, which shall be regulated by law. Liberty and human dignity are inviolable. The state shall respect and protect liberty as well as human dignity.” Similarly, the freedom of expression and freedom of thoughts are stated in the constitution and supported by law. “Freedom of expression shall be inviolable. Every Afghan shall have the right to express thoughts through speech….” Moreover, it condemns any types of discrimination – be it on the basis of race, sex, color, creed, etc. All citizens are considered equal in the eye of law. To put it succinctly, the Afghanistan’s Constitution is based on democratic theories and recognizes United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In post-Taliban Afghanistan, the girls’ schools were reopened and women took active part in social, cultural and political arenas. A number of women gained significant posts, including being members of parliament. Currently, the head of Human Rights Commission is a woman. Hence, the relative freedom and immature democracy were very critical for women’s progress. Unlike the Talibanic system, women are no more inferior to men. Sexual discrimination is not acceptable in our legal system.
Despite all the facts, democracy encounters serious challenges in Afghanistan. One of the main obstacles before the nascent democracy is warring factions. The Taliban fighters inflict heavy casualties upon Afghan police and civilians and trample upon their rights flagrantly. In other words, life is highly cheap and the blood of citizens, including women and children, is spilt by the militants, mainly the Taliban and loyal to the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The radical insurgents practice upon their own ideology or simply paid to kill.
Secondly, the administrative corruption is a barrier before democracy and people’s freedom. Afghanistan’s reputation has been damaged internationally due to corruption and this country wrestles with this chronic problem for more than a decade. According to the Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perception Index, Afghanistan continues to be ranked at the very bottom. The index, which ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be, lists Afghanistan in the 175th spot out of 177 countries, with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Somalia taking the two bottom spots. Hence, although citizens are equal before the law, the rich and the influential are hardly prosecuted as they pay bribery. In another item, the law is approved in the best way, however, it is not enforced properly. The judicial and executive systems are not parallel to legislative system.  
It is hoped that democracy will be more prolific in Afghanistan so that our nation be able to exercise their rights and freedom without barriers. Prayerfully, the government will implement the law equally and form a civil society void of violence, discrimination and corruption.