MPs differ over Loya Jirga on deal with US
KABUL(PAN): Some Wolesi Jirga members suggested on Tuesday that the proposed Loya Jirga, aimed at sharing its opinion with the government on a strategic cooperation deal with the US, should have a consultative role.
But others rejected the suggestion, saying the move was against the constitution and any decision by the jirga would not be acceptable to them.
President Hamid Karzai has said his government is convening the traditional assembly to deliberate on the draft agreement with the United States.
Also on Tuesday, 31 members of the preparatory commission for the jirga were named in compliance with a decree from President Hamid Karzai. Former Senate chairman Sibghatullah Mujaddedi heads the body.
A lawmaker from western Herat province, Mohammad Rafiq Shahzad, said calling the jirga into session to discuss a national issue was the constitutional right of the president.
"Whatever decision the president takes in national interest is legal. The president can discuss a national matter with elders," he insisted.
Another MP from southern Kandahar province, Abdul Rahim Ayubi, said convening the jirga on the current situation in the country was necessary.
Several other legislators also favoured the jirga, saying the president had the right to convene such consultative meetings.
But a number of MPs denounced the move as unconstitutional, warning they would not accept the jirg's decision.
Asadullah Sadati from central Daikundi province described the Loya Jirga a parallel institution to Parliament. He asked lawmakers to stay away from the meeting.
The constitution provided only for a Loya Jirga on issues of national importance and there was no need to convene a consultative assembly, he said.
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