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Time Wasted on Summoning Ministers: MPs

Afghanistan Parliment

KABUL – Some lawmakers on Thursday suggested the Wolesi Jirga should divert its attention to other important pending issues including legislating on amendments to elections laws instead of wasting time on the issue of summoned ministers. The lower house has summoned nearly a dozen ministers for under-spending their development budgets in 2011, an issue that has divided lawmakers.

Some MPs have accused their colleagues of accepting bribes offered by the ministers summoned to avoid a no confidence motion against them. Those who appeared before the assembly had been able to convince a majority of legislators with their explanations. The house has so far spent 16 working days debating the issue over the past three months.

Some MPs opposed summoning higher education, urban development, interior and defence ministers because they did not hold their current portfolios in 2011. “The assembly has wasted a lot of days on the issue of summoning ministers. It will better to discuss drat laws on elections and the peace process because these issues have a great importance for the country,” said a lawmaker from northern Kunduz province, Fatima Aziz.

She told Pajhwok Afghan News that the house had not been able to reach a consensus decision on the issue. “I am not satisfied with the outcome,” she said. The lawmaker accused some of her colleagues of having accepted bribes from the ministers in return for endorsing their explanations about their failure to spend most of development funds allocated to them in 2011. She said some MPs had received money and others were granted project contracts.

It should have been quashed long before if lawmakers knew the issue would end without giving any outcome because the assembly was required to debate other key issues of national interest, she said. Abdul Rauf from northern Badakhshan province held similar views about the issue. He said the issue could not be properly deliberated after some lawmakers were bribed.

He did not name anyone, saying he was not happy with the outcome. He also said the house should pay heed to elections laws because next year’s polls were crucial to determining the country’s fate. A lawmaker from southeastern Paktia province, Gul Badshah, said that the appearance of the 11 ministers was a victory for the parliament, but there were other major issues that needed legislation.

He said the government had sent drafts including electoral law and a law on higher education to the house for approval, but the assembly had failed to debate them so far. Badshah said he was not satisfied with the outcome because none of those summoned were impeached. (PAN)

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