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

Forces of Tradition Against Democratic Trend

The recent trend shows that the government and some traditionalist forces have launched an exhaustive attempt to undermine the legislative branch of the government. Legisla ture of Afghanistan according to the constitution has the power to pass, amend and repeal laws. Also Wolesi Jirga of the country is constitutionally mandated to ratify international treaties and agreements, or abrogate membership of Afghanistan in them.

President Hamid Karzai has tried not to consider the parliament as coequal branch of the government along with Judiciary and Executive. Instead, his whole attempt has been to sideline and weaken it as much as possible.

In the case of convening of the recent so-called Traditional Loya Jirga attended by the government's hand-picks, president Karzai ignored the parliamentary approval that called the Jirga as extra-legal and boycotted it but unfortunately some MPs were bought off by the president and breached the initial boycott.

There are, now, reports of people expressing their dissatisfaction with their MPs in provinces of Kandahar, Nangarhar and Parwan. They might be provoked by the government to destroy the image of the parliament, which is to represent the true will of Afghan people and entire nation.

MPs that honestly work hard to build the parliament that is able to exercise its constitutional and legal mandates must try harder to make sure that the parliament is not outfoxed by the government, particularly by president Karzai.

Since there is a strong presidential system in place with the resources in the hand of the executive, it will be difficult for the parliamentarians to try to restore the reputation of the house but it is not impossible and requires effective campaign to be launched by the MPs.

Civil society organizations must also support elected and democratic bodies and do not allow the traditional mechanisms to re-emerge to replace them. For years, these traditional mechanisms proved to be ineffective and deprived Afghan citizens of their citizenry rights.

For instance, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, in its latest report, has said that some laws of the country such as law of Jirgas and Shuras (councils) restrict citizenry rights of Afghan people and deprive them of their right to formal justice and lead to informal justice, which is based on traditions that often time run counter to human rights, human dignity and true Islamic teachings.

Afghan people took the risk to turn out on parliamentary Election Day to choose their representatives to pass laws on their behalf in order to regulate their lives, decide on policy issues and oversee the government.

Both Afghan security forces and people even made sacrifices but president Karzai played with their votes for a year and when the controversy subsided he turned to his own favorites for consultation on what could be considered as a critical national issue. Is it high time to bring the president back on progressive and democratic track?