Critics on Friday reacted to the removal of Ahmad Jawad Osmani from his post as public health minister by President Ghani, saying that government institutions such as the Ministry of Public Health should not be politicized.
Ata Mohammad Noor, the CEO of Jamiat-e-Islami party, called it “hasty and insulting” decision and warned against its consequences.
“This is the president’s right but in public health minister’s case, it is an excuse and is against article nine of the penal code and article 26 of the Constitution,” said Arash Shahirpoor, a lawyer.
Analysts said the Public Health Ministry is involved in political matters.
“Whenever a minister is appointed in the Ministry of Public Health, later on they were fired from their post on the basis of the political issues, nepotism and ethnic issues that unfortunately prevail in the country,” said Yama Shahabi, a doctor.
Osmani on Thursday said that he was asked by President Ghani to resign from his post.
“Yesterday the honorable president asked me to resign from my post, but I reasoned with him that there are no legal obstacles in my way to continue my job,” he said. “This is a totally unilateral and a political conspiracy.”
Later on, the Presidential Palace in a statement said that President Ashraf Ghani went to the Ministry of Public Health this evening to pay homage to medical personnel who lost their lives on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.
“The recent situation that emerged in the Ministry of Public Health is tragic and shameful… The law must be upheld and those who violated the law should be held accountable,” the statement said quoting President Ghani.
“President Ghani clarified that no politically motivated individual will be appointed to this ministry. A caretaker will be appointed and you will have professional personnel," said the statement, referring to the employees of the Ministry of Public Health.
“According to the constitution, the president has the authority to appoint or fire government officials including ministers, but the way I was fired is unacceptable because I have not resigned,” Osmani said on Friday. “The continuation of my job belongs to decisions of the political side by which I was introduced.”
Osmani said that the decision should be reviewed. He said the notice sent to the ministry was signed by a second rank employee of the administrative office of the president and that it has not been approved by Ghani so far.
The removal of the minister comes days after four people were arrested in the Ministry of Public Health for demanding bribes.
Those who were arrested were brother and cousin of Osmani, his adviser and the head of ministry projects.