Afghan Biographies

Constitutional Drafting Commission (CDC)

Name Constitutional Drafting Commission (CDC)
Ethnic backgr.
Date of birth
Function/Grade Members and Background
History and Biodata

Constitutional Drafting Commission (CDC)

A committee was set up to draft a new Afghan constitution. The final draft was to be presented for adoption by a Constitutional Loya Jirga (CLJ) in October 2003.

Chairman of the Constitutional Drafting Commission (CDC) was Nematullah Shahrani.

Of the nine legal experts of the commission, five - including the chairman - have been educated at American universities or have lived a number of years in the West. However, most of them have also had training in Sharia law. Shahrani was heading the committee comprising Abdul Salam Azimi, Mohammad Rahim Sherzoi, Mohammad Qasim Fazeli, Mohammad Moosa Maroofi, Mohammad Moosa Ashhari, Mohammed Sarwar Danish, and the woman judges Muharama Musa Asheri and Asifa Kakar.

The first question revolved around religion -- the extent of the role given to the shari'a (Islamic jurisprudence) in the formulation of laws and regulations of the state: whether Afghanistan will be an Islamic state, where the shari'a will be the source of all laws, or whether it will be a secular state.

This question leads to another potentially discordant question -- one which has been raised by some Afghans -- which Islamic school of jurisprudence should be given prominence in the new constitution. The 1964 Afghan Constitution followed the Hanafi sunni school, leaving around 15 percent of Afghans who follow the shi'i schools of jurisprudence -- mainly the Ja'fari -- without proper recourse to laws they adhere to. Members of the commission have mentioned that the new constitution will take into account aspects of all four Sunni Islam schools of jurisprudence -- Hanafi, Shafe'i, Hanbali, and Maliki -- but have made no mention of the Shia school of jurisprudence.

The lack of an open debate and reluctance on the part of members of the CDC or their UN advisers to engage the public or even to implement systematic interaction between members of the CDC and their counterparts in the Judicial Reform Commission and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission was related to political realities on the ground in Afghanistan. The inability of the Karzai administration to extend its rule over all of the country, combined with the legacy of ethno-sectarian conflict from which Afghanistan has suffered in the past 23 years, were also obstacles.

Last Modified 2013-09-02
Established 2013-09-02