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Wolesi Jirga seeks ministry status for IDLG

Wolesi Jirga seeks ministry status for IDLG

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Dec 19, 2012 - 13:08

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon -- or lower house of parliament -- on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly for giving the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) the status of a full-fledged ministry.

Once converted into a ministry, the IDLG head could be summoned to the lower house for answering parliamentarians’ queries on its efficiency, use of funds and corruption.

A number of lawmakers floated the suggestion after the Wolesi Jirga Domestic Security Commission place a bill regarding the directorate before the house. The measure proposes the IDLG should either be made a separate ministry or merged into the interior ministry.

Mirdad Khan Nijrabi, the commission’s head, said there had been no coordination between police chiefs and provincial governors since the creation of IDLG in 2007 in compliance with a presidential decree.

Previously, he added, both governors and police chief were appointed by the president through the interior ministry. But now the governors are appointed through IDLG, a process that has damaged coordination.

But a public representative from Kabul, Shukria Barakzai, said converting IDLG into a ministry would be in conflict with the constitution. Appointing senior officials, including judges, police, army and intelligence chief, was a presidential prerogative under Article 64, she explained.

In response to her view, MP Mohammad Daud Kalakani said the proposed conversion had no legal problem. The assembly could amend the relevant constitutional article, he argued.

After a prolonged debate, 120 of the 128 members present during the session voted in favour of giving the IDLG the status of an independent ministry. The move is aimed at bring transparency to the directorate and improving its performance.

Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi tasked the commission with preparing a draft law converting the directorate into a ministry. The measure has to be passed by the Senate before being signed into law by the president.

IDLG spokesman Mohammad Bashir Behram told Pajhwok Afghan News they respected the Wolesi Jirga’s decision, but would wait for President Hamid Karzai’s reaction. 

However, he rejected allegations about lack of coordination and corruption in the directorate. He promised action against corrupt officials if IDLG was presented documentary evidence.

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