The Supreme Court has decided to extend the the term of Fazel Hadi Muslimyar as the Chairman of the Afghan Senate for an additional, sixth year, according to official documents received by TOLOnews.
In a letter written from the high court, acting Chief Justice Abdul Rasheed Rashed says it is explained why the current Chairman of the Senate is constitutionally permitted to continue his term through the end of the 16th session of the Senate as Chairman in spite of his having reached the five-year term limit stated in law.
"As his highness was selected as the appointed member of the Jirga based on presidential decree number 2894 dated 28/02/1393, the appointment does not disturb their current chairmanship, and is considered a continuation of their tenure in the Senate," the letter reads.
However, the action taken by the Supreme Court has seen backlash from members of the Senate and legal community, who claim the move would be unconstitutional. A number of Senators, along with the Afghan Independent Bar Association, have written to President Ashraf Ghani in hope that he will step in and prevent a violation of the constitution.
"This decision is not by the Supreme Court because this document is against the constitution, and this is made clear in the internal duties and responsibilities and by the 11th amendment of the constitution," Wardak Senator Haseebullah Kaleemzai said.
Some Senators have speculated that Muslimyar could turn down the offer of an additional year as Chairman in light of the controversial nature of the issue. "Mr. Muslimyar might not agree to it, and the senior government officials might not agree for the law to be violated and the rights of others to be stepped on," Samangan Senator Said Safiullah Hashemi said.
But that appeared unlikely after Muslimyar admitted to TOLOnews Sunday that he had reached out to the Office of State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs about extending his term as Chairman. "Following advise from friends, I sent a suggestion to the government to see if I could serve as the Chairman oft he Senate for another term, but my being proposed by the Supreme Court is done by the high court, by government, and not me," he said.
Meanwhile, acting Chief Justice Abdul Rasheed Rashed has defended the decision to prolong Muslimyar's term in light of the backlash. "The view of the high court in this regard is obvious; we have said this to the presidential palace as well and considering the decree regarding the extension of the Senate Chairman tenure from four to five years, our views are clear," he said Sunday.