KABUL (Pajhwok): Some former Wolesi Jirga members have started efforts to convene online sittings of the lower house, but some former MPs consider it useless while analysts call it a political move.
However, some former lawmakers called the proposed sessions a good step towards sharing people’s voices with the government and the world.
They said they were still representatives of the people and that the Wolesi Jirga was a member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
However, some analysts say the basic functions of the Wolesi Jirga could not be implemented online and the caretaker government says it does not worth a response.
The previous government of Afghanistan collapsed on Aug 15 last year and was replaced by the current caretaker government and the National Assembly was also dissolved. The new government has also abolished the secretariats of the Wolesi Jirga and the Meshrano Jirga.
Efforts to hold online sessions of the previous Wolesi Jirga
Abdul Qadir Zazi Watandust, former head of the Wolesi Jirga’s secretariat, has shared a draft with members of the lower house.
Some lawmakers confirmed to Pajhwok that the plan had been shared with them through WhatsApp groups.
The draft states: “The elected National Assembly (Wolesi Jirga) will convene as usual (three days a week) through Zoom and online space on the initiative of the Director General of the Secretariat, Abdul Qadir Zazi Watandust.”
He wrote that the meetings would be held with technical assistance of the colleagues of the General Directorate of the Secretariat and in coordination with international foundations, IPU, civil society organizations and national and international media.
The source added that members of the 17th legislative session of the Wolesi Jirga could attend these sessions and as usual share their views and suggestions, the problems of the people of the respective provinces and the fate and problems of the country as a whole.
He asked the members of the Wolesi Jirga to contact the Secretariat if they agree with the plan.
Some former MPs: Holding online meetings is useful
Some members of the Wolesi Jirga have agreed to hold the meetings online, but others say it is not useful for the people and some say they are consulting on it.
Javed Safi, a member of the lower house, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the Afghan parliament was still a member of the IPU and that the purpose of the meetings was to convey the voices of Afghans to the world.
He added that these online meetings would be of great benefit as people from each province would be in touch with their representatives and would share their problems with them from their respective provinces.
According to him, such issues will be discussed in these online meetings and the voice of the people will be conveyed to the world, so that the government of Afghanistan could be pressured to solve the problems of the people.
Another member, Shinkai Karokhel, said that online sessions could be a voice for justice and that the voice would reach the government and the international community.
“Some media outlets in Afghanistan have been closed or restricted, so these online meetings are a good place to talk about problems, criticize, make suggestions and reach out to the government and the international community.”
Another member of the Wolesi Jirga, Karimullah Atal, also said that the people’s representatives in the house should represent the people because they were still considered the representatives of the Afghan people in the world.
He said talks were underway between members of the lower house and would be finalized in the next few days.
Online sessions of the previous Wolesi Jirga ineffective
However, Nangyali Lawong, another member of the Wolesi Jirga, said that holding sessions online was of no use to Afghans.
“One of the functions of the Wolesi Jirga is to monitor the actions of the government. You do not accept the government, so how do you monitor the actions of the government?”
He added that another function of the Wolesi Jirga was to make laws and to listen to the problems of the people and convey their voices to the government, which is not possible at the moment.
According to him, holding such meetings is of no use to Afghans either. Because the government of Afghanistan has now changed, the fate of the Wolesi Jirga has not yet been discussed in the new government and the Jirga cannot perform its duties in the current circumstances.
Another member of the Wolesi Jirga, Wagma Safi, said she was aware of the plan but she did not know the details. She hoped the sessions would not create another problem for the countrymen.
She said she was consulting on the matter and would make a final decision. But she added if such meetings served in people’s interest, she would support them.
What analysts say
Political and legal expert Wadeer Safi said when a state collapses with three pillars — executive, judiciary and legislative — then no institution or force has the right to operate online.
“These people have no contact with the countrymen. What they did when they were here?”
He said any country that allowed these former Wolesi Jirga members to have online meetings or physical meetings was in fact interfering in Afghanistan’s affairs and the caretaker government of Afghanistan has the right to complain in accordance with international principles.
According to him, the members of the Wolesi Jirga of the previous government did not have the right to operate online and the country from which this was done would be held responsible.
Gul Rehman Qazi, former head of the Commission for Monitoring the Implementation of the Constitution, said if the current government has not been recognized, the world also had not given legal recognition to the previous government.
“The Wolesi Jirga has a special legal value under the constitution. How will the Wolesi Jirga implement its legislative decisions online?” Where is the place of implementation? The people will be here, they will be there. The Wolesi Jirga must decide on the problems of the people and then share them with the government and find an executive form. How will this be implemented, online? Its job is to monitor the actions of the government, which government will they monitor? In general, the basic functions of the Wolesi Jirga are not practiced online. ”
Abdul Qadir Zazai when asked how the Wolesi Jirga could carry out its duties online, said: “The least it can do is to call bad deeds of the government bad and good deeds good and convey the voices of the people to the world, then it is up to the government and the international community to accept it or not. “
He said that the period of the 17th legislative term of the Wolesi Jirga has not expired and the majority of the members of the Wolesi Jirga have agreed with him on this plan and the sessions will begin soon.
When the issue was shared with Bilal Karimi, the deputy spokesman for the caretaker government, he said only “this not worth responding to.”