News: Zabul legal community hits the airwaves
Story by Staff Sgt. Patrice Clarke
QALAT, Afghanistan - The Zabul Provincial Legal Community took to the airwaves Feb. 12, for the inaugural broadcast of Zabul Rule of Law Radio, a broadcast highlighting the members of the province’s formal legal system at the new radio station in Qalat, Afghanistan.
The first broadcast featured the Zabul Provincial Attorney General, Abdul Ghafar Afzali, who introduced himself and the program to the people of Zabul province. The intent of the program is to broadcast the results of important legal cases and disputes to the people of Zabul.
The program initiated by the Zabul Provincial Reconstruction Team rule of law and civil affairs functions began months ago.
“This is a Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan run radio station,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Paul Rothfeld, Z PRT civil affairs. “The entire purpose of the station is to increase visibility of the provincial government. The radio is the greatest source of information for the people of Zabul province.”
U.S. Army Capt. John Velis, Z PRT rule of law, shared these views and brought the idea to the members of the legal community.
“What we are trying to do is build public confidence and awareness in the formal legal system,” said Velis. “Our thought process was that if we introduced the players, the individuals who make up the formal legal system, to the people, and have them explain how the system works then we could create interest and cause people to resort to the formal legal system to address their legal grievances.”
During his broadcast, Afzali, made it clear to the people of Zabul what to do if they are a victim of crime, who to contact and what legal options are available.
“The broadcast was good especially for the Zabul people,” said Afzali, following the broadcast. “We were able to make them aware of their own rights.”
Afzali also touched on his views of corruption in the government during the broadcast.
“The people of Zabul have no idea how to face corruption especially in the provincial government,” said Afzali. “With education they will be able to fight against the corruption and they are going to get confidence in the legal community.”
The broadcast will continue weekly, with the first few introducing the key players, to include the Afghan Uniformed Police prosecutor and other members of the legal community. After the introductions, Rule of Law Radio will begin broadcasting results of legal disputes, and punishments for prosecuted crimes.
“When we make the decision on a crime in the city we are going to put it on the radio than the people who are thinking of committing this crime will be aware of the punishment associated with this crime,” said Afzali.