Lack of quorum blocks approval of draft laws

KABUL (Pajhwok): A number of draft laws could not be debated by Wolesi Jirga commissions over the past few months due to growing absenteeism among lawmakers.
Article 97 of the constitution says the fate of a draft law presented to the lower house of parliament for approve by the government should be decided in a month.
Chairing the session, Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said the absence of legislators from commission-level meetings had delayed approval of several draft laws.
He said the draft laws concerned local governance, banks, procurement, financial affairs, corruption, higher education, access to information, elimination of violence against women and international agreements.
“Our main responsibility is approval of laws, but we have been deficient on this front,” acknowledged a public representative from southeastern Khost province.
Kamal Nasir Osuli linked the slow-paced work of house commissions with lack of quorum. “The growing absence of lawmakers from meetings shows weak management of the administrative board.”
Mohammad Hassan Sehraee, deputy head of the panel on MPs pay and privileges, said they had been unable to refer a legislative measure to the general session due to some problems today.    
His outspoken colleague from Kabul, Ramazan Bashardost, remarked: “We have got adequate privileges and it is enough for us; there is no need for debate on this issue.”
He believed public representatives should not seek more rights and privileges at a time when their constituents were struggling with a whole host of problems, including basic civic amenities.
An MP from Paktika province, Nadir Khan Katawazai, said: “So far we have been unable to achieve our constitutional rights. How will we strive for more rights?”
Finally, Ibrahimi urged lawmakers to work on draft laws at the level of commissions and present them to the general session for approval.

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