Senators Oppose Pressure on Karzai over BSA
KABUL: Some members of the Meshrano Jirga — or the upper house of parliament — on Tuesday suggested President Hamid Karzai should be allowed to take a decision of his choice on inking the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US. A public representative from southeastern Paktika province, Khan Mohammad Khagi, believed the president should take his time before arriving at a decision on the issue. “The president himself knows well when the agreement should be signed.”
While asking American and other political leaders to avoid mounting pressure on Karzai, he said the accord should not be concluded until the Afghan government’s conditions regarding an end to raids on civilian homes and support for the peace process and fair elections were met.His view was endorsed by Farida Kochi, a senator from northern Balkh province. She cautioned against pressurising the president, stressing that any decision on the subject must be in the interest of the country.
A legislator from Kabul, Khaliqdad Balaghi, accused the Obama administration of pursuing a two-faced policy on the BSA. “One day, they ask Karzai to sign the pact; the other day they say it could be inked with his successor. What a double standard it is!”On Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry hinted in an interview for the first time that the agreement governing American troops’ future presence in Afghanistan could be signed by Karzai’s successor after the 2014 elections.
A Meshrano Jirga member from Daikundi province, Syed Mohammad Nasiri, said the accord would have no impact on the Afghanistan situation. “Signing the BSA would not mean an end to hunger and poverty in Afghanistan; our problems will continue even if it’s concluded,” he remarked, slamming the agreement as contrary to Islamic teachings.
A senator from southern Kandahar province, BismillahAfghanmal, urged the government not to take a hasty decision on the issue.Meshrano Jirga Chairman Fazal Hadi Muslimyar said the government should hold more discussions with the US on protecting Afghanistan’s interests.
Two days earlier, a number of senators had urged Karzai to immediately sign the BSA, because further delay in concluding the agreement would land the government in problems. Some senators voiced their concerns at the security situation ahead of the presidential and provincial elections. They said serious steps for maintaining security should be taken so that people could safely go to poll stations. Muslimyar asked lawmakers to press the government for improving election security. (PAN)