Dostum case: Government prestige in question

Wednesday, 25 January 2017 04:06 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 128 times

The torture and rape of Ahmad Ishchi by his political rival and 1st Vice President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum has turned into a major headache and challenge for the National Unity Government (NUG). While the government and even the president himself had promised an impartial investigation into the case, stressing that no one was above the law, Gen. Dostum has defied a summons issued about two months ago by the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to appear for questioning over Ishchi’s allegations leveled against him.  A recent development in the case is that the AGO has issued an arrest warrant for Gen. Dostum’s nine bodyguards after they flouted three orders to show up before the Attorney General.

 

Although there were doubts about the impartial investigation of the case since the very beginning given the feeble stance of the government on the issue, there was still a low level possibility of the incident being investigated thanks to international pressures. However, international pressures gradually dwindled, and the government also has not taken any necessary, bold action. 

Although law has long been implemented only on the poor in Afghanistan, it is necessary that it becomes a vehicle to ensure justice at all levels, not a weapon used against the powerless to rein them in. Afghans cannot tolerate forever that the rich and powerful be treated as above the law, and the powerless be needlessly deprived of their fundamental rights on charge of law violations. 

As it is a matter of government’s dignity, the Dostum’s case and his reckless disregard for legal and judicial institutions are increasingly hurting government’s stance and popularity. The longer the case runs, the more the people lose faith in rule of law and government’s ability. Moreover, the wealthy and powerful will be further emboldened, may feel that they enjoy more impunity from prosecution and that no one has the guts to question them, thereby disrupting the current relative order in the society, which will escalate even into a degree of crisis. 

If the government cannot do more, it should at least close Dostum’s case to save face because with each passing day on the case being delayed, the government’s credibility further erodes.