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NDS-ISI deal: Govt asked to submit draft agreement to Parliament as it questions Pakistan’s sincerity

Abdul Zuhoor Qayomi-KABUL: Amid heated debate on the recently disclosed deal on intelligence sharing between the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), members of the Wolesi Jirga (WJ) questioned honesty of Pakistan and asked the government to submit the agreement to the parliament.

They expressed their concerns repeatedly in the past one week. They said that there is no guarantee that Islamabad would not betray Kabul once again, and eliminate sanctuaries of those who are killing Afghans without any break or pause.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the intelligence agencies of the two neighboring countries sparked widespread criticism in Wolesi Jirga and Meshrano Jirga. The lawmakers are saying that due to huge trust deficit between the two countries there was no need for such agreement.

Some legislators in today’s session proposed that the government should send the original draft of the agreement for review and approval. However, others termed the pact against the national interests. Those who are against the deal said the agreement should be rejected before submitted to the WJ for debate and approval.

The deputy chief of the Audit and Control Committee (ACC) of the WJ, Assadullah Saadati, believed that although Pakistan as key supporter of Taliban was never sincere with Afghanistan, but signing such agreement is necessary to defuse tension between the two countries.

He said that Islamabad would never shun the Taliban and other terrorists groups that are carrying out terror attacks in Afghanistan. “However the government must be asked to send the original draft of the memorandum of understanding to the Wolesi Jirga for assessment. We need to know whether the deal is in our interest or not,” said Saadati.

He said that according to the constitution, the WJ is not authorized to reject or approve the MoU, but the lawmakers could provide suggestions to the government in order to protect the national interest. He advised his colleagues to show patience and study the draft before saying anything.

After the session, Saadati told Afghanistan Times that the WJ has no authority to approve or reject MoUs. However, he said the draft could be studied by the lawmakers as part of the monitoring authority of the parliamentarians. He told that legislators could provide suggestions to the government for protection of the national interests.

Sayed Ali Kazemi, a member of the International Relation Committee (IRC) of the WJ, told the house that although the MoUs have not been sent for approval to the parliament in the past, but the NDS-ISI agreement is a sensitive issue and need review.

He said the WJ has vital role to play in the decision making process about the national interests, or at least pressurize the government to accept its suggestions.

The presidential palace and the National Security Council (NSC) of Afghanistan have said that the agreement has not been finalized.

Spokesman to the president, Ajmal Obaid Abidy, on Twitter said that the draft was initialed. He said that once the draft of the MoU was finalized and agreed by the two parties, head of the two spy agencies would sign it.

Abdul Rahman Rahmani, an MP from Balkh, said the agreement was almost finalized, but the government is going to bring some changes in the draft due to widespread criticism. He said the NSC should be asked to send the original draft for study.

Ramazan Bashardost, an MP from Kabul, said that ISI is an old enemy, but leaders of the mujahideens (freedom fighters) misunderstood it as a friend.

The ex-chief of ISI, Hamid Gul, was the major actor who planned and executed operations aimed at destroying Afghanistan, but that time he was considered a friend by the mujahideen leaders by mistake.

Farooq Majroh, an MP from Herat, said the leaders were not thinking on issues of national interests properly and were seem in too much haste.

He said the MPs reserve the right to express their concerns regarding signing of such intelligence sharing agreements, because Pakistan has been  involved in killing of Afghans in the past three decade.

Shukria Paikan, an MP from Kunduz, urged the NDS to avoid signing “such shameful” agreement with Pakistan.

“There is no need to sign the deal because Pakistan is murderer of Afghans. I also want to ask the president and Chief Executive Officer to restrain from signing the deal; otherwise coming generations will never forgive them,” she said.

The Internal Security Committee of the Wolesi Jirga has already summoned the NSC adviser for briefing over the deal.

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