Biased government treatment of Afghan citizens

Wednesday, 18 January 2017 04:33 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 157 times

Preferential government actions in terms of rule of law and justice delivery are increasingly contributing to the disappointment of Afghan people. Instead of gradually paving the way for equal implementation of law on all Afghan citizenry, the government continues to enforce law only on the poor and powerless, and use it as a weapon to keep them in check, while many wealthy and powerful individuals involved in major crimes not only enjoy impunity from prosecution, but also hold senior government posts. Presently, some high-ranking officials of the National Unity Government (NUG) are accused of corruption, yet no case has so far been fairly investigated.

 

Former Jawzjan Governor Ahmad Ishchi broke the norms and ethos of the Afghan conservative society by divulging the agonizing account of his torture and rape by First Vice President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum in the hope that justice would be served in his case. Both the people and he expected that by bringing the 1st vice president to justice, the way would be paved for implementation of law on the powerful; however, the government seems to have also failed this litmus test, as usual.

The National Unity Government has suspended Abdul Hakim Mujahid, a member of the High Peace Council (HPC), for calling the Taliban “angels of peace”. Mujahid’s controversial remarks about the Taliban were on no account justifiable because those involved in killing Afghan civilians will never be “angels of peace”, and he should have been dealt with as required by the law. Nonetheless, if he is to be questioned for his statements, why Gen. Dostum cannot be investigated for the torture and rape of an elderly man! Why are the ministers, provincial governors, directors and other senior officials involved in corruption not questioned and prosecuted? 

The preferential government treatment in the area of rule of law and justice is extremely disquieting. If the law serves as a weapon against the powerless and a shield for the powerful, justice will never be served in the society, and unless the rich and powerful are treated as if they are above the law, stability and security in the country will remain a myth and a dream. 

If government leaders truly have a whetted appetite to ensure security, stability and rule of law in the country, they should try to implement the law equally on all. Any prejudiced behavior by the government can further widen its existing distance with the people, which will have grave consequences, including threatening the continuity of the government.