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Plan for property takeover stirs anger

AT-KABUL: The Afghan Labors’ Association has condemned a presidential order for transiting the properties of non-government unions to government as “against the law and incorrect”.

President Ashraf Ghani ordered the shifting of all non-government unions to the ministry of finance.

Maroof Qaderi, head of the labor’s association said Tuesday that the properties of the union were bought through the incomes from laborer’s membership fees. “But the government plans to grab these properties by force,” Qaderi said.

“Some 30 to 40 ranger vehicles of the government’s armed forces are around our offices. They want to drag us out of our offices by force. This is illegal to silence democracy voice. This is bully and against the law.”

He added that only the national congress of the labor association and the judicial organ were authorized to decide whether to hand over the properties to the government.

A delegation from interior ministry, municipality, attorney general office and finance ministry was recently assigned to take the properties of the labor association to the government.

Based on presidential order, the labor, youth, farmers and writers associations should hand over their properties to the government, finance ministry says.

The labor association is serving as the laborers’ rights advocate for 53 years, the association said, adding that it had secured significant services so far. It said that the government had repeatedly decided to take their properties in the past.

The finance ministry claimed that the non-government associations were not licensed by the justice ministry.

“These associations do not have licenses, so they should not be money makers, but they do make money via their properties,” said Ajmal Abdulrahimzai, spokesman of the finance ministry. “The properties transition is lawfully and the government is not menacing their activities.”

But the labor association says that it is licensed by the government, adding that the government is seeking pretexts to grab their properties.

Kabir Ranjbar, a law expert said that if the unions were serving without licenses, then the government was rightful to grab their properties, but added that if they had licenses, the government’s action was illegal.

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