Illegal distribution of political passports goes on
KABUL (Pajhwok): Political passports continued to be issued to undeserving people, a member of the Meshrano Jirga claimed on Sunday, when the upper house announced sending a delegation to Saudi Arabia for investigation into the situation of Afghan refugees.
Nisar Haris, member of the Senate international affairs commission, said political passports were being illegally distributed to undeserving people.
He told the house that as many as 4,142 political passports had been distributed over the past four years.
He said the commission had sent a formal letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to stop the process of distribution of political passports immediately.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai had acknowledged 4,650 political passports had been distributed illegally to undeserving individuals in the past.
In line with international norms, political passport is issued after it is signed by the foreign minister. In addition, documents of political passport applicants should be scrutinised by Consul Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Members of parliament, military personnel above the rank of lieutenant general, diplomats abroad, ministers, members of Supreme Court Council, attorney generals, governors, mayors, secretaries, formers foreign ministers and some high level government officials are eligible to get political passports.
But Sirajul Haq Siraj, deputy spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), told Pajhwok Afghan News more than 4,000 passports had been distributed to undeserving people last year. He pledged to cancel passports that had been illegally issued.
At the Senate session, first deputy chairman Mohammad Alam Ezedyar said he had information that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs planned to appoint a shopkeeper as consul general. “The incumbent government has been giving jobs to election campaigners and has done nothing for people’s wellbeing.”
Chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar directed the Foreign Affairs Commission to summon foreign ministry officials to brief lawmakers on the matter.
The Meshrano Jirga also discussed Afghan refugees living in Saudi Arabia. Haris said still many Afghans were living the kingdom on Pakistani passports.
He urged the upper house to appoint a delegation and send it to Saudi Arabia for investigation into the situation of Afghans living there.
Senator Juma Din Giyanwal from southeastern Paktika province said hundreds of Afghans were working in Saudi Arabia using Pakistani passports and if this issue was not resolved, the Afghans would face identity crisis.
The upper house unanimously decided to form a delegation from the house International Affairs Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to investigate problems being faced by Afghans in Saudi Arabia.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.