Absent MPs Warned of Disciplinary Action
KABUL – Some Wolesi Jirga members on Monday said most of their colleagues were busy in electioneering for the April 5 provincial council polls, causing quorum problems and delaying approval of essential legislative measures. Of the 246 lawmakers, only 12 were present at today’s general session, which was also attended by Speaker Abdur Rauf Ibrahimi, his deputy Sadiq Ahmad Usmani and Secretary Irfanullah Irfan.
One MP from Kabul, Nazifa Zaki, said most of jirga members were busy in presidential and provincial election campaigns at an important time. “Some of them don’t attend jirga sessions even once a year.” In a satirical vein, she some legislators attended the sessions where ministers were to get votes of confidence or summoned to the lower house. “If they can’t serve their constituents, let others take their positions and work for the people.”
At least 125 representatives are required to attend a session that takes a legislative decision. She blamed the Administrative Board for being too weak to force public representatives to attend important sessions. Her colleague from norther Kunduz province, Shukria Paikan also lashed out at the absence of members, saying people would eventually lose their confidence in the parliament if the situation persisted.
A public representative from central Maidan Wardak province, Ghulam Hussain Nasiri, remarked: “Absenteeism among lawmakers is as much worth condemning as Taliban activities.” Saleh Mohammad Saljooqi, the 2nd deputy speaker who chaired the session, warned of taking disciplinary action under the internal rules of business against the absent legislators.
Wolesi Jirga panel heads had asked Independent Election Commission (IEC) and Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) officials to brief MPs on next week’s presidential and provincial polls. But Saljooqi quoted the election officials as saying that they were too busy with poll-related preparations to attend the session. On the other hand, the IECC argued it was not responsible to the assembly. (Pajhwok)