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The Killid Group
Land grab adds to urban chaosWritten by Mohammad Reza Gulkohi
Sunday, 14 August 2011 09:59
Has President Karzai's order closed the chapter on the stand-off between the Special Tribunal and parliamentarians accused of fraud in last year's elections? Suddenly things were moving again in the stand-off between the Special Tribunal and MPs being probed for fraud in last year's Wolesi Jirga elections.
On Aug. 10, President Hamid Karzai ordered the Independent Election Commission to enforce the special tribunal's verdict. It had ruled 62 of the 249 sitting MPs would have to give up their seat in Parliament based on the result of a vote recount ordered under Article 22 of the election law.
The disaffected parliamentarians had been demanding the enforcement of the decision in their favour in an appeal court. Pressure had been mounting on Karzai.
Days before Dawood Sultanzoy, MP, had said "the president should enforce the decision of the appeal court."
Now Karzai has played his hand. The presidential order of Aug. 10 has been announced to resolve the dispute between the MPs and the special court, a statement from the presidential palace categorically states. Reactions are still to come in when this story was written.
Arif Rahmani, MP, had called the Special Court order illegal. "Principally, the formation of the special court is illegal, and its decision is no more than playing with the destiny of people," he had told this reporter.
According to him, when the decision of the Special Court is illegal, there is no need to refer it to an appeal court."
Abdul Karim Ranjbar, a former MP, will be considering his "principled" position has been vindicated. He has been saying publicly that the Wolesi Jirga should have 62 new faces. "Some of the disaffected MPs will not be happy. I am not happy with the decision of the court, but principally, I support this decision. As I said earlier, based on Article 129 of the constitution, enforcing the court decision is a must," Ranjbar said.
The Special Court was set up by a presidential decree.
Fazil Sancharaki, spokesman of the Coalition of Change and Hope, a forum of discussion, has a different opinion. According to him, the formation of the Special Court is a challenge to Parliament. "Rigging the election result by President Karzai was a major political action, not a legal action for assuring justice," he told Killid.
Time and again the president had promised to solve the problems created by a disputed election. But nothing emerged from the presidential palace.
It is worth summarising from a Crisis Group report on Afghanistan that advances the theory that though state building has a long record, during the last ten years some positive steps have been taken, but these achievements are very tiny and fragile in some cases. The Afghan government has not had very dazzling achievements in this and other fields.
The long drawn out tension between the Wolesi Jirga and President Karzai, and the Supreme Court and the Wolesi Jirga has affected the government. Since the questions raised were about the credibility and legitimacy of governmental institutions, people's perception and faith have been shaken.
Public opinion had been strongly in favour of a resolution of the crisis. Abdul Alam Muradi, a student of political science in a private university in Kabul, said, "the more the dispute drags on, the more distrust (of government institutions) among the people."
The Wolesi Jirga has repeatedly asked President Karzai to find replacements for Abdul Salam Azimi, chief justice of the Supreme Court, and two other judges whose term came to an end a year ago.
The president has not had time to take a decision on that, or the fate of the seven ministries that are run by ad-hoc appointees.
Political expert Hafizullah Zaki had observed, "The legal solution is that the election results should be accepted, and in case of offences, those should be investigated by the attorney general. In case offences have legal implications that put a question mark on the qualification of an MP, in that case it would be enforceable."
This will not be necessary any more. The president of Afghanistan has spoken.