Khan rebuts allegations, survives trust vote in Parliament
He was summoned for mismanagement of water and energy resources in several provinces, not utilizing water properly, alleged distribution of weapons to his supporters, development budget underutilized and no transparency in awarding ministry contracts, said speaker of Lower House of Parliament Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, while addressing the session.
While speaking at a gathering in Heart, Khan said security could not be maintained in the country without the cooperation of Mujahiddin after the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan by end of 2014.
He had announced the establishment of former Mujahiddin Shura (council).
While addressing the Jirga today, Khan said he was aware that he was summoned because he praised the Mujahiddin who had sacrificed for country and religion at a gathering in Heart last October.
The current peaceful atmosphere in the country is due to the devotion of Mujahiddin in the past, he said while pointing to the Wolesi Jirga.
“You sisters did not have the right to go to school in the past but now you summon a minister,” he said while addressing female legislators, adding that he was not only addressing the Jirga as a minister, but as a person who had struggled for the nation’s freedom for almost 21 years.
Some lawmakers, especially Ramazan Bashardost, criticized Khan’s remarks and raised his voice in the hall but was forced out of the session.
Khan said that he did not tarnish the current system or the country, but only spoke about Afghanistan’s peace and stability, and wanted to give the people a moral support to remove problems and insecurity in the country.
Khan said Herat governor painted a wrong image of the gathering and labeled Mujahiddin as militiamen and later issued fake papers to the media complaining of distribution of weapons to supporters. But these papers were merely introductory letter regarding Mujahiddin and no weapons were distributed to anyone.
On the question about awarding 80 percent of contracts to Iranian companies to import power generators, Khan said that they had not purchased them from Iran, but instead imported the generators from Turkey via Iran as there was no electricity at that time.
The minister also said out of the five projects, only the contract to build Shah Wa Aroos dam was awarded to an Iranian company, while other dam contracts were given to Russia, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan firms. And, the Iranian company worked better than the others and completed 30 percent of the reconstruction work, he added.
When Khan was appointed a minister, only five percent of the people had access to electricity, but now 40 percent of the country’s population has power supply, he added.
Regarding water supply, he said more time was needed to manage the resources in the country, but the ministry have done a significant job -- have designed 133 water dams while work on five dams was underway.
Commenting on under utilizing the budget, he said the ministry had spent more than 50 percent of the budget this year and in the past used more than 80 percent of budget.
Khan said the ministry also planned projects for all the provinces, but the Ministry of Finance could not approve the budget for all projects at a time, so only four out of 100 projects was approved every year, he said.
“Kabul and northern zone own 75 percent of water resources of the country, while they have only 25 percent land, but the rest of the zones only have 25 percent of water that is not sufficient for the 75 percent of land,” he added.
The ministry had been implementing water management projects on the basis of the availability of water resources and not based on provinces and they would try to supply water for the three zones, he added.
On importing electricity from other countries, he replied more money and time was needed to build dams in Afghanistan, so they had to purchase power to meet the urgent needs.
“It took 15 years and more than $3 billion spent to build Kunar dam, do you expect Kabul to be in darkness,” he added.
Of the total 174 MPs present today, only 32 lawmakers voted against Khan, while most of the elected representatives were in favour of the minister.
On 26th February this year, Khan was introduced to the Wolesi Jirga as the Minister of Water and Energy after garnering 175 votes, and only 35 was against him.
Later on 5th March he won the trust vote in Parliament.
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