Afghan parliament dismisses Ministers despite opposition by President

Kabul, Nov 14 (IANS) The Afghan Wolesi Jirga or the lower house of parliament on Monday disqualified another Minister on the ground of failure in spending development budget, bringing the number of dismissed Ministers to six since the no trust move was launched two days ago.

During Monday’s session, the lawmakers dismissed Farida Momand, Minister for Higher Education, with majority, while Minister for Urban Development Sayed Mansur Naderi and Minister for Justice Abdul Basir Anwar survived the axe, Xinhua news agency reported.

The move took place despite opposition by Arg or Presidential Palace as, according to the media reports, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has urged the Wolesi Jirga to postpone the Ministers’ disqualification process, a call spurned by the lawmakers.

In a similar exercise on Sunday, the lawmakers dismissed Minister for Transport Muhamadullah Batash and Education Minister Assadullah Hanif Balkhi, but Minister for Finance Eklil Ahmad Hakimi narrowly escaped the vote of no confidence.

Earlier on Monday, the Lower House dismissed Foreign Affairs Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, Public Works Minister Mahmoud Baligh and Minister for Social Services Nasreen Owryakhel, citing poor performance and failure to spend allocated budgetary funds on time.

The Afghan government has 25 ministries and more Ministers will be summoned by the Lower House of parliament in the coming days to account for failure in spending development budget and a few more of them might be dismissed on the same ground.

Summoning and sacking Ministers by Wolesi Jirga is taking place at a time when militants loyal to the hardliner Taliban and Islamic State outfits have increased activities in the insurgency-riddled country.

Ghani, in a letter delivered to Wolesi Jirga on Sunday, asked the lawmakers to further evaluate the performances of disqualified Ministers in line with the constitution.

However, the move initiated by legislators to disqualify Ministers has drawn mixed reactions among the Afghan people, according to media reports.

“Members of parliament should work based on the national interest and they should consider the fragility of political situation in the country,” an analyst Keramudin Rezazada told the media.

“Disqualifying ministers should not continue,” another analyst Sayed Ali Rezas Mohamadi said.