Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, December 15th, 2019

Tall Wall of Mistrust between State and Nation

Photos of men lying on the ground with their hands folded behind were widely shared on social media and sparked online anguish. Online commentators, including some officials, lamented the “inhumane act” and lambasted the government.
The photos were first posted by the spokesperson of Junbish-e-HizbeMelli (Movement of National Party) Bashir Ahmad Tahyanj, who wrote in his status, “These are the photos of Nizamuddin Qaisari’s men and companions who have been martyred, wounded and arrested by commandos.” He adds, “We leave the judgement for Afghan people”. Believing the tortured men were the soldiers of First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum, who lives in self-imposed exile in Turkey, commentators aired their harsh views and hatred against the government. Photos, leaked to social media, show the men are dressed in military uniform and local clothing, their hands are folded behind and they are lying face down with stains of blood on their faces and there are men with military uniform around them.
This comes as Nizamuddin Qaisar, Dostum’s number one man, was detained by Afghan government, which sparked violent protests among his supporters, mainly Uzbek ethnic groups, in seven Northern provinces. People consider Qaisar a strong anti-Taliban figure who has been fighting against the Taliban so far. However, the government knows him as “irresponsible armed man” saying it will campaign against all irresponsible armed men.
Qaisar’s arrest got mixed reactions by Afghan MPs as some supported the government’s deal against illegal armed men, however, others criticized the government severely saying that if the government is campaigning honestly against the local armed men, it has to start from Kabul. Meanwhile, Gul Muhammad Rasuli, a senator from Faryab province questioned the government’s silence regarding people’ protests and added Qaisar was defending people along with Afghan soldiers and if he was cruel, so many people would not protest in his support.
Torture and inhumane acts are contrary to Afghan Constitution which states in Article 29, “Persecution of human beings shall be forbidden.No one shall be allowed to or order torture, even for discovering the truth from another individual who is under investigation, arrest, detention or has been convicted to be punished.Punishment contrary to human dignity shall be prohibited”. Meanwhile, Article 25 states in 2nd section, “The accused shall be innocent until proven guilty by the order of an authoritative court”.
Considering this fact, if those men are tortured by Afghan commandos, as shown in the photos, it is a flagrant violation of national law. Legally, those who ordered or committed this act must be brought to justice. Moreover, such a torture is “contrary to human dignity” which is inviolable and must be valued at any case. 
According to popular belief, breaking constitution and other national laws by high-ranking officials has been a normal practice under the National Unity Government (NUG). For example, the broad electoral rigging in presidential election in 2014, the establishment of NUG and the late upcoming parliamentary election, which are all against national laws, are only few examples known to the public.
Generally speaking, the wall of mistrust between state and nation has grown highly tall since the establishment of NUG. The practices contrary to law by officials have not only dealt a blow to democracy but also made people lose their faith in democracy and transparent elections. Therefore, a large number of people are reluctant to participate in the upcoming parliamentary election.
In addition, the political controversies between the heads of the NUG, mainly over the appointment of top officials in government posts and introduction of ministers, also made people lose their trust in the government. The public believe officials prefer their personal advantages to national interests and consume their energy in personal issues rather than resolving the national challenges, which inflict pain and suffering on people.
After all, the deterioration of security issues and escalation of civilian and military casualties have compounded the public mistrust in the government. Based on popular belief, the government is not able to resolve any of the ongoing challenges, mainly lawlessness and insecurity.
The NUG has not been able to win people’s trust or ensure democratic principles and people’s rights and dignity. The ongoing flagrant violation of law by high-ranking officials, political rhetoric between officials and unmitigated militancy are undoubted facts. It is understandable that no one is beyond the law and those who violate the law – be it locals, commandos or high-ranking officials – must be brought to justice. In the meantime, officials should spend their energy on tackling the national challenges and ensuring security rather than hackling over their personal interests. They have to stop keeping silence and hold regular press conferences to give transparency about their practices to the public.