MPs in Afghanistan’s Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) on Monday said recent protests in the north and northeastern provinces were due to the residents’ fury over “injustice and central government’s autocratic policy”.
They warned that because of President Ashraf Ghani’s policies there would be “consequences”.
But some MPs came out in support of Ghani and said they stand by government’s crackdown on lawbreakers but called on government to implement the law equally across all regions of the country.
“Whether it is a minister, lawmaker or a leader, commander or any ordinary person, we strongly support the crackdown against lawbreakers who resort to violence,” said one MP Kubra Mustafavi.
Another MP Obaidullah Barakzai said: “Our expectation is that justice must prevail from ARG (Presidential Palace) to parliament and against everyone and we strongly support this process.”
This comes a week after Nizamuddin Qaisari, police chief of Qaisar district in Faryab province and a close aide to First Vice President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, was arrested by Special Forces in Faryab.
Qaisari’s arrest, said to have been over his threats and insults directed at government officials, sparked protests in Faryab and other northern provinces in the days that followed.
In addition to being a close Dostum aide, Qaisari is also the commander of the public uprising forces in the province.
He was taken into custody last Monday after being called to attend a security meeting at the 1st Regiment of the 209 Shaheen Army Corps.
In reaction to his arrest, hundreds of protestors from Faryab province poured on to the streets in protest against the move.
“Movements which are taking place these days do not belong only to the issue of Qaisari, these movements are against injustice and prejudice,” said MP Abdul Sattar Darzabi.
Some MPs from Kandahar and Ghazni said that government is adopting a double-standards policy towards tackling lawbreakers.
“I know several people around the president at ARG who are involved in land-grabbing and they have occupied people’s homes by force,” MP Lalai Hamidzai said, implying that no action was taken against them.
However, government officials have accused Qaisari of having been involved in illegal activities.
Officials said last week an investigation is underway and the legal and judicial institutions will determine Qaisari’s fate.
This comes after Atta Mohammad Noor, the chief executive of Jamiat-e-Islami party of Afghanistan and Mohammad Mohaqeq, the second deputy of the CEO Abdullah Abdllah, on Sunday accused Ghani of autocracy over the arrest of Qaisari.
They claimed Ghani takes decisions without the National Security Council’s (NSC) input and then tries to implement his decisions unilaterally without consulting government officials.
The two officials said that the exile of Dostum, the arrest of Qaisari, the dismissal of the minister of water and energy affairs and the judicial action against former minister of IT and communications were against the law and in contradiction of the spirit of the agreement on the formation of the National Unity Government (NUG).
They also said the banishment of Dostum to Turkey was not within the president’s authority. As vice president, only the Loya Jirga has the authority to disqualify him, they stated.
“The central and core issue is that General Dostum should return to the country. Until now we have demanded his return, but after this, we want to say that we will bring him back, both the world and the government should hear this, if they do not bring him back, we will bring him (Dostum) back, later if there is a crisis, then those who are responsible (for this) created the crisis,” said Mohaqeq.
Noor in turn said: “I don’t say that Nizamuddin Qaisari had no faults, perhaps he has some faults, but your (Ghani) approach has been very dictatorial, aggressive, unethical and repressive, several members of his family have been killed and his house has been attacked.”
Dostum meanwhile said in a statement last week that NUG leaders must release Qaisari immediately. He also said if this does not happen there would “be consequences” for which government would be responsible.