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    MPs denied entry into Wolesi Jirga

    KABUL (PAN) Former lawmakers were refused entry into parliament on Saturday, a day after the Wolesi Jirga Secretariat said no one could use the lower house's resources until its official inauguration in mid-January.

    Around 40 ex-members, who lost the Sept. 18 parliamentary election, were not allowed by special police on duty to enter the house. Dozens of policemen and armoured vehicles were seen outside the parliament.

    Lawmaker Muhammad Kabir Ranjbar said MPs reserved the right to use Wolesi Jirga resources, including its meeting hall, under the law. "No one can deny them the right till the new parliament's inauguration."

    If they were not permitted to enter the house, the ex-legislators would meet on the road in front of the Wolesi Jirga, he added. "It's an insult to us and the nation at large."

    The non-existence of the Wolesi Jirga, being part and parcel of government, meant the government was incomplete, remarked Ranjbar, who accused an unnamed individual of slamming parliament's doors on public representatives.

    A public representative from northern Baghlan province, Eng. Muhammad Asim told Pajhwok Afghan News they did not accept results of the parliamentary vote -- marred by blatant irregularities.

    Some people wanted to impose the poll outcome on the nation, he alleged, saying: "Whoever has blocked the entry of parliament members is against all democratic principles."

    A day earlier, the Wolesi Jirga Secretariat said no one could use the lower house's resources until official inauguration of the new parliament. Parliamentarians were asked to stop holding meetings in Wolesi Jirga halls until Jan. 16, 2011.

    The secretariat said in a statement: "Under Articles 104 and 107 of the Afghan Constitution, the parliament has no sessions. No one, therefore, can use resources of the national assembly until its formal inauguration."

    Last week, successful parliamentary candidates met in the house, asking the president to inaugurate the new assembly as soon as possible. Last Wednesday, Speaker Yunus Qanuni and around 100 MPs vowed to continue their sessions until the inauguration of the new assembly.

    frm/mud



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