460
2 Apr 2017
Writer: Mohammad Reza Gulkohi

Tumult for nothing

A likely face-off between lawmakers and President Ashraf Ghani fortunately was nipped in the bud.
Following the breach in security in Kabul with the attack on a military hospital, and also the fall of Sangeen district, Parliament summoned government ministers and chief of security. Summonses were served on Masoom Stanekzai, head of National Directorate of Security (NDS), Taj Mohammad Jahed, minister of interior affairs and Abdullah Habibi, defence minister.
Parliamentary interpellation (to demand an explanation from the ministers) could have ended in a no-confidence motion. Charges and counter charges flew between lawmakers and executive. President Ghani was reported to have threatened to dissolve Parliament if it voted against his ministers. The president's office has denied the allegation.
Humayoon Humayoon, first deputy in Parliament, reiterated Ghani had spoken to him that in case of interpellation he would dissolve Parliament.
In the end, lawmakers expressed confidence in the two ministers and NDS chief. Shah Husain Murtazawi, acting head of the president's press office, wrote on his Facebook page, "Thanks to the Wolesi Jirga the ministers remain in their positions."
The turn of events was surprising considering bloody attacks by armed opponents of the government including Taleban and ISIS have not ceased.
Kamran Rastagar, analyst and journalist says the "ministers and president have responsibility as the executive … Parliament can monitor deficiencies".
Observers say since trust has been re-established by the process of interpellation, the ministers and chief of NDS must not break the faith.
Farida Haqmal, a Kabul resident, is worried that henceforth lawmakers may not seek proactive intervention to improve the security situation.
There are also critics within Parliament who fear the people they represent may feel let down. Abdul Latif Pedram, MP from Badakhshan province told Killid, people have a right to "accuse" representatives of inaction for failing to "defend themselves (take ministers to task for repeated breaches in the security)".
Hamidullah, a resident of Helmand says, "We expect that the presence of cabinet ministers (in Parliament) would improve stability in the country particularly Helmand." He also ticked off the defence minister for saying he was not "asleep" on his job. "…what is important to be awake on security and better management in battlefields."

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