No need to call Loya Jirga on security deal: Ahadi
KABUL (PAN): Another presidential candidate, Anwarul Haq Ahadi, rejected on Monday as illegal convening a Loya Jirga to make a final decision on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Afghanistan and the US.
A day earlier, opposition leader and presidential runner, Abdullah Abdullah, said the political coalition would not participate in the traditional assembly.
President Karzai has said a Loya Jirga would be called within a month to decide on the deal-breaking issue of immunity for American troops in Afghanistan courts beyond 2014 as part of the much-delayed agreement.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and President Karzai, after two days of talks, said late on Sunday they had reached preliminary agreement over the pact that now depends on the approval of tribal leaders.
Karzai said the question of legal jurisdiction over US troops, who stay on in Afghanistan, could not be decided by his government. Instead, a Loya Jirga, or an assembly of elders, leaders and other influential people, will consider the demand and decide whether to accept it.
The US is insisting it cannot agree to a deal unless it is granted the right to try in the US its citizens who break the law in Afghanistan.
In the past, Joya Jirga has voted in favour of keeping a US presence in Afghanistan and western diplomats are optimistic the assembly will pass the deal.
But Ahadi, a former commerce and industries minister, said the Loya Jirga would lack constitutional cover if called into session at this stage, when district council members were yet be elected.
The presidential candidate suggested it would be better if the parliament approved the security agreement. “In the current situation, a Loya Jirga will have legal issues. Instead a consultative jirga should be called.”
“I think there is also no need even to convene a consultative jirga because there are people who give advices to the president, who should not leave key issues of national interest for others to decide on,” Ahadi said.
The former finance minister said the US had signed security agreements with a number of countries and it should provide Afghanistan with the same privileges.
A joint candidate of key political parties, including the Hizb-i-Islami Afghanistan led by Arghandiwal, Ahadi insisted the 2014 presidential elections should be transparent at all costs.
The Afghan Millat Party chief said if the government and the Independent Election Commission lacked the ability to ensure the April 5 ballot taking place in a peaceful environment, alternative ways should be searched.
But Ministry of Interior spokesman Ghulam Sadiq Siddique said the ministry had already chalked out security plans for the elections. He said security threats had been divided into three categories – high, medium and low. “We plan to bring the medium level down to low level and do away with low level threats,” he said.
Ahadi also asked the government to avoid interfering into the election process in order to preserve the vote’s credibility.
He claimed possessing better programmes and plans for the country’s development compared to his rival candidates and vowed not to quit in favour of anyone.
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