Senators split on holding consultative jirga
President Hamid Karzai has said a final decision on signing the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States should come from a jirga.
But the Wolesi Jirga, lower house, opposed the idea and alleged the president wanted to prolong his stay in power by convening the jirga, which lawmakers believed would suggest changes to the constitution.
Political parties have also expressed their opposition to calling a jirga instead of the Loya Jirga which has constitutional sanction. However, a Loya Jirga cannot be called into session because district council elections are yet to be conducted.
But Meshrano Jirga member from western Farah province Gul Ahmad Azami told the house there was a possibility of calling a consultative jirga. He said advisory forums had convened in the past to resolve problems and could be arranged in the present situation.
“The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating. It would be better to call a consultative jirga to discuss security and matters of national interest,” he said, insisting the BSA should be signed with the US.
Kabul suspended talks over the agreement with Washington after the Taliban opened their political office in Doha last month.
Another senator Mohammad Amin Ahmadi, who represents southern Ghazni province, claimed security was deteriorating across the country, a problem that could be resolved through a consultative jirga.
A Kuchi tribe representative, Farid Kuchi, said for any consultative jirga to be effective, members of provincial, district, village and other councils had to be in attendance.
Some other members also supported the call to convene a consultative gathering, but others opposed the idea, saying such forums had no legal basis.
Abdul Wahab Irfan, an MP from northern Takhar province, said holding such gatherings in the presence of the parliament was against the law and the constitution.
He said if the government needed opinion on the security agreement, it should consult the parliament. He added consultative jirgas could not resolve problems but led to a waste of time and money.
His colleague from northern Balkh province Mehmood Danishjo believed the government wanted to take opinion on how to prolong its stay in power through a consultative jirga.
Similar views were expressed by other members. First Deputy Chairman Mohammad Alam Ezedyar said the constitution allowed only Loya Jirga and there should not be other forums that could further complicate the situation.
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