Quorum problem hits Wolesi Jirga proceedings

KABUL (PAN): The quorum problem on Wednesday prevented the Wolesi Jirga -- or lower house of the parliament -- from dealing with a heavy agenda, including important bills and agreements.
The house failed to take any decision on Afghanistan's inclusion in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and an agreement of cooperation with Tajikistan.
A bloc of 56 countries, the OIC has evinced a growing interest in the situation in Afghanistan. It has accepted a proposal to appoint a permanent representative for Afghanistan.
The house was to discuss and approve other important documents like the Bonn Convention on conservation of migratory species of wild animals and a decision on the fate of the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission.
But only 70 of the 248 members were in attendance, falling short of the minimum required 125 MPs. Last week, some legislators said there was no need for the commission because it was rife with corruption.
Speaker Abdul Raul said the assembly had to debate and decide some important issues of national interest, but the lack of quorum stalled the business.
"It is a shame and disappointment that most members are not attending the session. They should not betray the nation and the promises they held out to their constituents," the speaker remarked.
A lawmaker from northern Kunduz province, Fatima Aziz, said a number of here colleagues were busy dealing with personal problems and some had been on foreign trips. "They appear only when important decisions are to be taken."
A Daikundi representative, Asadullah Sadati, asked the administrative board to come up with plans to initiate disciplinary measures in line with the house procedures to ensure lawmakers’ participation in sessions.
Under internal procedures, if a member does not turn up without any explanation, five days payment is deducted from his/her salary and his/her name is revealed to the media.
Sadati suggested names of absent MPs should be announced each month so that people could know what their representatives were doing.

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