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Will prolong protests if suggestions not taken into account: PC members

AT-KABUL: In the aftermath of the decision by the Wolesi Jirga, the National Assembly that barred provincial council (PC) members from overseeing local departments, a number of PC members on Saturday suggested lifting ban on their authority to monitor local offices and warned that would prolong their protests if their suggestions were not taken into account.

The Wolesi Jirga in its recent decision on late Wednesday banned provincial councils from supervising local offices.

After the decision, provincial council offices were closed in several provinces and their members warned that would not open the offices until the lawmakers cancel the decision.

The provincial council members said they have contacted the presidential palace and shared their concerns about the issue but they have not received any response in this regard yet.

Radio Azadi quoted the chairman of Logar provincial council, Hasibullah Stanikzai, as saying that they have set a deadline until today (Sunday) for the government to lift ban on their authorities, otherwise their protests would increase to all provinces countrywide.

“We decided to set a deadline for the government if we did not receive acceptable response regarding our suggestion. We will stage countrywide protests on upcoming Monday if Kabul remained silent and did not cancel the decision on our authorities,” he said.

He added that they request the president to return them their authority to monitor activities of local offices.

Earlier on Friday, provincial council members held a session in Kabul and slammed the decision by the Wolesi Jirga. The session decided to close provincial council offices in 16 provinces and said the offices would remain closed until their suggestion is addressed.

However, the legislation committee of the parliament house said that overseeing local offices is the responsibility of lawmakers, not provincial council members.

Head of the commission, Qazi Nazir Ahmad Hanafi, was quoted by Radio Azadi, as saying that authorities and responsibilities of provincial council members have been mentioned in the Constitution. “In the previous term of provincial councils, we granted them the authority to supervise activities of local departments but a number of them misused their power,” he added.

In the meantime, the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) officials said they were in favor of giving the authority to provincial council members to monitor and supervise local offices.

The IDLG spokesman, Tawab Ghorzang, said they respect the decision by the Wolesi Jirga, but the provincial council members should be given the right to assess activities of local offices.

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