Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

Salaries of Ex-MPs Stopped, Weapons Being Collected

Salaries of Ex-MPs Stopped, Weapons  Being Collected

KABUL - Salaries and other privileges of Wolesi Jirga members have been suspended and a process to collect weapons from their bodyguards is underway, officials said Tuesday.
On the other hand, a number of the former Wolesi Jirga members say their privileges should not have been stopped because their term would end when the final results of the Wolesi Jirga elections are announced from all provinces.
The Wolesi Jirga elections were held on October 20, 21, 2018 in 32 provinces and a week later in southern Kandahar province. The polls in southern Ghazni province are scheduled to be held together with the presidential election in 2019.
According to the law, the 17th legislative term of the Parliament shall be inaugurated by the president on March 7, but the Presidential Palace said the 17th legislative term of the parliament would be inaugurated after the announcement of final Wolesi Jirga election results.
Rahimullah Ghalib, deputy secretary of the Wolesi Jirga or lower house, told Pajhwok Afghan News that salaries and other privileges of Wolesi Jirga members served in the 16th term were paid until March 6.
He said 227 of total 249 Wolesi Jirga members were alive and had membership of the house in the 16th legislative term.
To a question whether new candidates who are announced winners in the final results are getting their salaries, he said, “No, because they are not formally introduced to the Wolesi Jirga so far, they will start receiving their salaries and privileges once they arre sworn in and introduced to the lower house.”
Ghalib says each Wolesi Jirga member received around 200,000 afghanis in monthly salary which totaled 45 million afghanis a month to 227 MPs. The amount would be increased to 50 million afghanis as 250 MPs would be serving in the new legislative term.
Qazi Abdul Rahim, a former lawmaker from Badghis province, told Pajhwok that suspending salaries of the 16th term Wolesi Jirga members was against the Article 83 of the Constitution.
“Delaying the inauguration of the parliament and ceasing salaries of its members is against the law, the parliament had to be inaugurated on its time,” he said.
He said the 16th legislative term would end after inauguration of the new parliament-elect. The results of Wolesi Jirga elections have not yet announced, therefore former lawmakers should continue in their job and receive their privileges, he said.
Article 83 of the Constitution says, “Members of the House of People shall be elected by the people through free, general, secret and direct balloting.
It adds: The work period of the House of People shall terminate, after the disclosure of the results of the elections, on the 1st of Saratan (June 22) of the fifth year and the new parliament shall commence work.
“The elections for members of the House of People shall be held 30-60 days prior to the expiration of the term of the House of People.”
Collection of weapons
According to the Parliament security office, each Wolesi Jirga member has at least four weapons or more than 900 weapons with 227 members.
Ghalib said the weapons collection process from bodyguards of former MPs had begun and all former MPs had been requested to clear their accounts with the parliament.
A number of former lawmakers avoided submitting weapons to the Parliament due to security threats to their lives, Ghalib said, without naming anyone.
He said a number of former MPs were of the view that they would hand over their weapons to their successors. MPs who failed in their reelection bid should submit their weapons and other equipment to the parliament, he added.
Ghalib said the Ministry of Interior had been ordered to maintain security of former lawmakers who were under security threats.
Meanwhile, an official in the security section of the parliament, who wished to go unnamed, told Pajhwok that all former MPs had been ordered to submit their weapons, vehicles and bodyguards to the parliament.
“Only five bodyguards have returned to the parliament so far but none of the former lawmakers has so far submitted his/her weapons and vehicles, even a number of MPs of the 15th legislative term still posses the parliament weapons and vehicles despite several requests to return them,” the official said.
Qazi Abdul Rahim said he possessed some weapons of the parliament and would hand them over once their license expired. He said the license of the weapons he had received from the parliament for his security was valid for another one and a half years.  (Pajhwok)