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Legislators divided over dual nationality issue

Legislators divided over dual nationality issue

Jan 22, 2015 - 19:23

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Differences emerged on Thursday between Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon members over whether to reject or endorse cabinet nominees keeping dual nationality.

Some lower house members insisted they would not vote for dual citizens in accordance with the law, but others favoured granting the trust vote to such individuals.

Under Article 72 of the Constitution, a person being appointed as minister must have the citizenship of Afghanistaninfo-icon only.

However, the article adds if a person nominated for a ministerial post holds nationality of another country, the Wolesi Jirga has the right to reject or endorse his/her nomination.

The Wolesi Jirga had previously decided that dual nationals would not be approved because such people promoted the interests of the other country instead of Afghanistan.

A day earlier, four Wolesi Jirga panels rejected seven dual national cabinet picks, including the ministers-designate of foreign and interior ministries, dealing a blow to President Ghani’s efforts at forming his government nearly four months later he was inaugurated.

The Presidential Palace has introduced 24 ministers-designate and nominees for the spy service and the central bank.

MP Abdul Sattar Darzabi from northern Jawzjan province told Pajhwok Afghan News the National Assembly would not play politics with the government over the question of dual nationality.

“At the time when we decided not to approve dual citizens, none of us knew who will be the nominees. Now we are compelled to implement our decision, which does not mean any confrontation with the government.”

Darzabi said the government should adhere to truthfulness and show respect to law implementation and should not enter a conflict with the parliament over the issue of dual citizenship. “If possible, a solution should be found to the issue.”

His colleague from northern Balkh province, Ahmad Shah Ramazan, said the parliament had not meted out step-motherly treatment to the government in the case of dual nationality holders.

“We have no problem with the government. It is a decision of the parliament that dual nationality holders will not be approved. I have the same view that they should not be voted.”

MP Haji Zahir Qadir from eastern Nangarhar province also said the house’s decision regarding dual citizens should be implemented.

“A legal way should be adopted to reverse the house decision, not through hue and cry,” said Qadir, who reminded President Ghani of his remarks that no government official would interfere in the parliament’s affairs.

“But some ministers and governors are trying to break the house decision on the dual nationality holders,” he claimed.

When asked who were these ministers and governors, Qadir said: “Tonight there will be a gathering at the Inter-Con, go and see who they are.”

Qadir, a powerful figure in Nangarhar, said he and his parliamentary bloc would allow no one to break the house decision in return for money or privileges.

However, a number of lawmakers at today’s session insisted dual nationality holders should be granted the trust vote.

Outspoken female lawmaker from Kabul Shukria Barakzai said the Wolesi Jirga had unlawfully formed the joint commission to vet documents of ministers-designate.

She said the Constitution gave all sections of societyinfo-icon the right to elect or be elected and the assembly could not decide against the law or deprive people of that right.

Article 33 of the Constitution says the citizens of Afghanistan have the right to elect and be elected. The clause 2 says law regulates the conditions and means to exercise this right.

MP Gulalai Noor Safi from Balkh said cabinet picks who had shunned their dual nationality should be granted a trust vote after confirming the matter from the embassies concerned.

“Foreign embassies say Afghans who have shunned their countries’ citizenship should travel to their countries with Afghan passport and should have visas of their countries. Now as these individuals have become only Afghans, we should endorse them.”

Gulalai said the joint commission had misused its authority in assessing documents of ministers-designate and rejecting some of them. However, she did not go into details.

Some other MPs held similar views. But First Deputy Speaker Siddique Ahmad Osmani, who presided over the session, said the assembly would strongly defend its decision on dual citizens.

“All people have the right to elect or be elected, then bring an illiterate, we will vote for him. But this is not the case, everything enshrined in the law should be enforced.”

He said 166 votes were required to reverse a decision of the national assembly and take a new decision under the Constitution.


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