MPs accused of trying to save ministers’ skin
KABUL (PAN): Lawmakers on Saturday accused some of their colleagues and members of the Wolesi Jirga Administrative Board of trying to exclude the issue of summoned ministers from the house agenda since the assembly returned from its winter break.
Last year, the house summoned nearly a dozen ministers for under-spending their development budgets as part of 2011 annual allocations. The 11 ministers failed to spend even 50 percent of their allocations.
They include ministers of interior, defence, economy, water and energy, education, urban development, mining, higher education, antinarcotics, and information and culture.
Seven of those summoned appeared before the house in December to explain their positions, but the rest failed to turn up despite warnings of a no-confidence motion
The issue once divided lawmakers as some were not in favour of summoning the ministers who did not hold their portfolios in 2011.
The situation took an ugly turn when a member from western Herat province, Farhad Majidi, entered a physical clash with his colleague from southern Kandahar, Naeem Lalai.
Before the 45 days winter break in January, former Wolesi Jirga secretary Abdul Sattar Khawasi had said the issue of summons would top the agenda after the vacation.
During Saturday's general session, an MP from Kunduz province -- Fatima Azizi -- said the issue should not be excluded from the agenda to restore people's trust in their representatives.
"Since the government pays no attention to our decisions, we should continue to follow them on our own," she said, asking the house to determine the fate of the summoned ministers.
MP from southern Helmand, Nasima Niazi, said some lawmakers and members of the administrative board who enjoyed close connections with the government were trying to save the ministers summoned.
"The issue does seem to be resolved and if it is resolved, it would yield no results, because we have some colleagues who do not want some ministers to appear and be grilled," she said
A Nangarhar lawmaker Aryen Yun also said some lawmakers with vested interest were opposed to the summons.
He claimed the 45-day winter break provided a chance to the summoned ministers to campaign to avoid appearing before the house.
But the newly elected Wolesi Jirga secretary Syed Ikram rejected the claims that the board had not been in favour of summoning the ministers. He said the committee of panel heads would decide a date for the ministers summoned to appear before the house during its upcoming meeting. He also said house commissions had started discussions over the amended electoral law.
A lawmaker from northern Badakhshan province, Abdul Rauf, confirming the discussions, said the draft would be presented before a general session over next 10 days.
The election commission has also called for an early approval of the law in order the election process continued smoothly.
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