“Afghanocracy”: Treason, Abuse of Power and Political Immunity

Monday, 10 April 2017 16:59 Written by  Pamir Patang Read 194 times

Following the end of WWII, a new world order emerged with substantial impact on humanity, geopolitics, geo-economics, migration and, more critically, the birth of the never-ending Cold War. The WWII, which took approximately 30 million lives, was orchestrated by a democratically elected leader of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler.

 

He stood for his views and asserted his freedom of speech to argue that Germany should only be a land of pure Arian race. Any other race or ethnic group, particularly Jews, Gypsies and disabled people, were deemed as inferior. Nonetheless, not only was he not stopped, but was permitted to express his views in the most democratic way of the time, which led to catastrophic results for the world once usurped power. The wounds he left on humanity will probably take another century to heal. 

Unfortunately, certain nations have failed to learn the lesson evident from the above. The world is still witnessing dictators, fascist leaders and members of parliaments, whose aims are either ethnic cleansing, division of nations or ensuring rule by one ethnic group within. What is more, this all is conducted in the most systematic way possible, by abusing freedom of speech and politically granted immunities. 

Following the break-up of the Soviet Union, some young democracies emerged in some parts of Eastern Europe, Central Asia and, following the fall of Taliban, in Afghanistan. 

Afghan people with the assistance of the international community managed to not only overthrow the Taliban regime for good, but also establish a democratic state which is quite unique in the region for its respect to universal values of freedom of speech, women's rights to education and empowerment, and respect for religious and political views - values which are fundamentally crucial to any democracy. 

Unlike in the past when Afghan leaders would either be eternal presidents or rulers who held on to power until overthrown by foreign powers. The year 2014 witnessed a democratic transfer of power from one democratically elected President Hamid Karzai to another - Ashraf Ghani. The same applies to the Afghan parliament, which is not only greatly represented by all ethnic groups, but also home to some strong women advocates. 

Unfortunately, in some cases, particular individuals have made statements, which fall under the article of national treason. Under Afghan law, it carries the penalty of capital punishment.  Mr Latif Pedram, who is one of the MPs from Badakhshan, is argued to have been promoting extremist ideas, including: nation division; recognition of The Durand Line; division between Tajiks and Pashtuns; as well as the creation of greater Tajikistan. Moreover, he is strongly accused of injecting racial hatred in hearts and minds of Tajiks, i.e. to stand against Pashtuns and fight for greater rule of Tajiks within society and calling on Tajiks to reject the constitutionally accepted national anthem.

However, the extremist views of such individuals in respect to The Durand Line issue fail to recognise the rights of Afghans across both sides of the latter and decide their own future and destiny. It is not the legitimate right of any Afghan politician or MP to call for the recognition of The Durand Line, which is a highly sensitive matter for every Afghan. This issue should only be debated and decided upon a Loya Jirga. Anyone recognising or calling for its recognition other than a Loya Jirga, is committing a flagrant violation of the rights of the people of Afghanistan and is committing a clear act of treason and should face the full force of the penalty imposed for such a crime in the country’s laws. Further, given the seriousness of such an offence of treason, the rule of law and the protection of national security warrants that no individual, regardless of whether a government official or otherwise, shall be immune from prosecution for such an offence. 

History has shown that it is always easier to inflict damage on minds and call for a rise against particular ethnic groups and the State than it is to win hearts and minds. It has been evident that the course of action, which Mr Latif Pedram has taken, has many similarities to Adolf Hitlar's views of the 1930s. Mr Pedram appears to be adopting almost 70 years later in the so called “Afghanocracy” way– a term underpinning democracy by individuals of such calibre who are using and abusing this sacred concept and freedom of speech to promote racial hatred, division of the nation, ethnic uprisings and civil war. 

Afghanistan is a nation where a greater portion of the population is still either under educated or has little access to basic education. Such sections of society still rely on tribal elders, representatives at Provincial Councils and those who represent them at the Parliament in Kabul. Therefore, those who abuse the granted political immunity and call for the aforementioned indefensible actions notwithstanding their catastrophic consequences, should be stripped of their immunity and brought to justice. The behaviour of such individuals would have serious implications for a nation - the history of Nazi Germany in the 1930s is evident of this fact. 

The government should be closely monitoring such statements made by any MP or official. Additionally, a Member of Parliament is only immune in some cases of debate when he/she makes comments, statements or arguments within the premises of the Parliament. Anything said outside of Parliamentary debate, should not have any immunity from prosecution. These are internationally accepted rules and standards. If we were to have our own “Afghanocracy”, where immunity is given even in the case of national treason or calls made for ethnic uprising, then it would lead to anarchy within our society, implications of which perhaps would be even more serious than that witnessed during the Nazi Germany era. 

In conclusion, it must be stressed that Mr Pedram clearly abused his power and the immunity granted to him to spread ideas of racial hatred and acts against the national interests, in a manner that warrants prosecution for treason. He should be voted out of his Parliamentary seat, stripped of his immunity and brought to justice. The West is where democracy was born, yet even there such comments are completely unacceptable and attract severe penalty regardless of whether the perpetrator is a politician or a member of parliament.