Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Wolesi Jirga Again Renews Call for Cabinet Picks

Wolesi Jirga Again Renews Call for Cabinet Picks

KABUL - A number of lawmakers on Sunday stressed transparency in upcoming elections and urged the government to introduce picks for ministries headed by acting officials.
Thirteen ministries are currently being headed by acting ministers and the government has named its nominees for the vacant portfolios but is yet to introduce them to the parliament lower house for a vote of confidence.
Hameed Tahmasi has been nominated for the ministry of transport, Mohammad Shafiq Gul Agha Sherzai for the ministry of border and tribal affairs, Tariq Shah Bahrami for defense, Abdul Latif Roshan for higher education, Faizullah Zaki for ‘labor, social affairs, martyrs and disabled’ and Nargis Nehan for mines and petroleum.
Wais Ahmad Barmak has been nominated to head the ministry of interior affairs, Shahzad Gul Aryubi the ministry of telecommunication and information technology and Yama Yari public works ministry.
These nominees also serve as acting ministers. Ministries of foreign affairs, education, and information and culture are also headed by acting officials.
Salahuddin Rabbani, acting foreign affairs minister and Asadullah Hanif Balkhi, acting education minister, have been disqualified by the Wolesi Jirga. Abdul Bari Jahani has resigned as information and culture minister.
In today’s session of the lower house, lawmakers strongly criticized continuation of acting officials’ jobs.
Obaidullah Barakzai, a lawmaker from central Uruzgan province, said: “We do not know the reason why the government has been silent about ministries run by  acting ministers for a long time.”
He said most of the acting ministers were busy doing personal activities and were little concerned about people and their representatives.
Eng. Zakaria Zakaria, a lawmaker from capital Kabul, said it was against the law to hold an office by an acting head beyond two months.
A number of ministries have been headed by acting officials for more than one and half a years.
Zakaria asked the government to introduce its picks for the Cabinet portfolios as soon as possible.
Some other lawmakers held similar views. Speaker, Abdur Rauf Ibrahimi also said continuation of acting officials’ job was against the law.
“Please respect the law and respond to legitimate demands of people’s representatives for ending the culture of acting officials.”
He said the government had repeatedly been asked for introduction of Cabinet picks in the past and once again today.
Elections
A number of Wolesi Jirga members criticized Wasima Badghisi, deputy chief of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), over suggesting upcoming elections to be held on the old pattern.
Badghisi recently told media though paper based election voting would somehow pave the ground for fraud, but it was the only way to conduct the polls on schedule.
“I think the paper-based voting is more possible for upcoming Wolesi Jirga and district council polls in 2018, but we should be able to conduct presidential election using technology in 2019,” she had said.
Some lawmakers demanded the upcoming Wolesi Jirga and district council elections to be held on July 7, 2018. (Pajhwok)