Sunday, October 19, 2003

LATEST FROM AFGHANISTAN: Rumor is that former King Mohammad Zahir Shah will be moving back to his home in Rome. Almost hitting 90, he isn't the healties Afghan around. I have a question: will the Saudis continue to pay for the monthy cost of his life?

The new Afghan constition is on its way and it's a balancing act between democracy and Islam, but that doesn't mean that they're mutually exclusive. It still remains a balancing act watched closely by the Iraqis. The Loya Jirga, which I have touched upon in length earlier, will be held on December 10th. (And yes, I will have an translation of it as soon as it's released.)

Dissappointing news from Canada: Canadian Prime Minister Chretien said Canda won't be sending additional troops for the ISAF-expansion. I get the feeling that the Canadian military brass thinks otherwise. Germany (part of the irrelevant old Europe), on the other hand, will probably send 450 new soldiers, Deutsche Welle reports.

UPDATE: I decided to post excerpts from previous constitutions so we'll be able to compare them to the new one:

1923 Constitution
Article 1: Afghanistan is completely free and independent in the administration of its domestic and foreign affairs. All parts and areas of the country are under the authority of his majesty the king and are to be treated as a single unit without discrimination between different parts of the country.

Article 2: The religion of Afghanistan is the sacred religion of Islam. Followers of other religions such as Jews and Hindus residing in Afghanistan are entitled to the full protection of the state provided they do not disturb the public peace.

Article 13: Subjects of Afghanistan shall have the right to submit individual or collective petitions to government officials for the redress of acts committed by officials or others against the Sharia [religious law] or other laws of the country.

1963 Constitution
Article 1: Afghanistan is a constitutional monarchy; an independent, unitary and indivisible state. Sovereignty in Afghanistan belongs to the nation.

Article 21: In case the King dies before his successor has completed twenty years of life, the Queen shall act as regent until his successor reaches the stipulated age. In case the Queen be not living, the Electoral College, provided under Article 19 of this Constitution, shall elect someone from amongst the male lineal descendants of his majesty Mohammad Nadir Shah, the martyr, to act as regent.

Article 32: Afghan citizens have the right to assemble unarmed, without prior permission of the state, for the achievement of legitimate and peaceful purposes. Afghan citizens have the right to form political parties, in accordance with the terms of the law, provided that: 1) The aims and activities of the party and the ideas on which the organization of the party is based are not opposed to the values embodied in this constitution.

1976 Constitution
Article 2: The exercise of power by the people, the majority of whom consists of farmers, workers, the enlightened people and the youth.

Article 8: The elimination of exploitation in all its forms and manifestations.

Article 27: All the people of Afghanistan, both women and men, without discrimination and privilege, have equal rights and obligations before the law.

Article 41: Work is the right, honor and duty of every Afghan who has the capability of doing it. The major purpose of the laws that shall be promulgated to regulate work is to reach the stage in which the rights and interests of all toilers, farmers, workers and trades are protected, suitable working conditions provided, and in which relations between the worker and the employer are regulated on a just and progressive basis. The choice of work and vocation is free, within the terms determined by the law.

1987 Constitution

Article 2: The sacred religion of Islam is the religion of Afghanistan. In the Republic of Afghanistan no law shall run counter to the principles of the sacred religion of Islam and other values enshrined in this constitution.

Article 6: The National Front of the Republic of Afghanistan, as the broadest, sociopolitical organization, unites political parties, social organizations and individual members enrolled in their ranks for ensuring their active participation in the social, political and civic spheres on the basis of a common program.

Article 19: In the Republic of Afghanistan, state, mixed, cooperative, religious trust, and private property as well as properties of political and social organizations exist. The state protects all forms of lawful properties.

Article 21: The state shall assist strengthening and expansion of cooperatives and shall encourage the voluntary participation of the people to this end.

Article 23: The state guarantees the right of ownership of land of the peasants and other land owners in accordance with the law. The state shall adopt necessary measures for the realization of democratic changes in agriculture keeping in view the interests of peasants and other land owners. The state encourages the establishment of big agricultural and
mechanized state, mixed and private farms and helps the reclamation of virgin lands.

Article 29: The hereditary right to property shall be guaranteed by law on the basis of Islamic Sharia.

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