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Panel ‘no’ to Gulf Security Pact ‘TERRORISM’ ADDED TO AJMI GRILL MOTION

KUWAIT CITY, April 3: The parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee rejected Thursday the GCC Security Agreement on grounds that the pact is unconstitutional. Committee Chairman MP Ali Al-Rashid explained that although the Parliament Office asked for an extension of the grace period to give its constitutional opinion on the agreement, the panel decided to finalize the issue and voted against it. The panel will present its report to the Parliament on April 15 for final decision.

According to Committee Rapporteur MP Hamdan Al-Azemi, three members of the panel voted against the agreement and two voted in favor. He added the Parliament is not expected to debate the issue until late October. It can be recalled that the GCC leaders approved the agreement at a summit in December 2012 after it was signed by all GCC interior ministers including Kuwait.

The text paves the way for the extradition of anyone accused of carrying out political or security activity against a GCC membernation. It also allows members to seek military and security assistance from other GCC nations to counter unrest. However, those against the pact claim it will undermine constitutional freedoms in Kuwait - the first GCC member with a directly elected parliament and relatively few restrictions on the press and public expression. Several political groups have held rallies warning that the pact will turn Kuwait into a police State.

The Parliament, which is dominated by pro-government MPs but also includes several opposition members, can approve the pact but the panel’s decision is an indication of the mounting rejection in Kuwait to the controversial treaty. Since early 2006, Kuwait has been in almost continuous political crisis, with a dozen cabinets quitting and the Parliament dissolved six times. But since July parliamentary elections, tensions have subsided as the executive and legislative authorities have opted for cooperation.

In another development, the Negative Phenomenon Committee has called on Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdul Mohsen Al-Mudej to revoke the licenses of commercial shops and complexes, which invited artistes and singers to perform during the inauguration of these establishments.

This came after the committee obtained information on the performance of a famous artiste during the opening of a commercial complex where many young men and women gathered to watch the concert. MP Abdulrahman Al-Jeeran has asked the concerned ministries to strictly enforce the law in order to prevent suspicious activities like the organization of concerts during the inauguration of commercial shops. He warned against inviting singers and artistes for the opening of commercial complexes and shops; affirming this is not in line with the culture and traditions of the Kuwaiti conservative society. He alleged such activities open the door for homosexuals and deviant people to engage in indecent acts. He urged the ministries of Interior, Social Affairs and Commerce to strictly apply the law and impose harsher punishments on offenders. He also warned private universities against organizing concerts under the pretext of collecting donations for charity work. He disclosed several students have repeatedly complained about these activities, which contravene the teachings of Islam.

Meanwhile, Committee Rapporteur Hamdan Al-Azmi unveiled their plan to meet every Thursday to discuss the rising incidence of violence against domestic workers. This is in response to the instruction of the Parliament on Wednesday for the committee to study this phenomenon and submit its report as soon as possible. On the other hand, MP Safa Al Hashem intends to add two points to the interpellation motion she will submit against Minister of Justice, Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Nayef Al-Ajmi - supporting terrorism and distortion of facts. She revealed the grilling will take place on April 29, 2014. She said the minister refused to admit that he played a role in supporting terrorism by refuting the report of the US Treasury Department in this regard. She wondered why the premier renewed the term of the minister despite a report that he supports terrorist groups like Jabhat Al-Nousra and other armed groups.

In the meantime, news broke out that the government has threatened to push for the dissolution of the Assembly if it submits a non-cooperation motion against the executive authority. This caused confusion among a number of MPs who vehemently denied their alleged intention to declare non-cooperation with the government. MP Adnan Abdulsamad stressed this information is false in every means, and even if it is true; the Assembly will have a different approach. MP Dr Khaleel Abdullah said he did not submit a non-cooperation motion against the government. He argued the government cannot push for the dissolution of the Assembly without an Amiri decree. He admitted there are some defects in this Assembly, but MPs should not worry because the people voted for them. He added he has no problem in case HH the Amir decides to dissolve the Parliament. MP Abdulrahman Al-Jeeran disregarded the news, indicating he was not informed about this matter personally. He wonders how such allegation surfaced. MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji also asserted that this information is untrue, as the government does not dare threaten the Assembly; demanding whoever spread this information to present proof. He revealed that during the closed-door session on the children allowance bill, the MPs attacked the government which should be held responsible for its mistakes but it did not reach the point of submitting a non-cooperation motion. MP Hamad Al-Hershani firmly stated this is an utter lie, adding that anyone who supports such moves wants to harm the executive and legislative authorities. He added majority of the Assembly members support the proposed children allowance increment, but after the closed-door session when vital information was revealed; the majority was convinced and opinions changed for the best of the country. He clarified the MPs do not desire political gain or any type of gain for that matter; unlike previous assemblies wherein ‘gain’ was all that mattered, which led to the paralysis of the country.

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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