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Wolesi Jirga session ends as MPs come to blows

Wolesi Jirga session ends as MPs come to blows

Feb 23, 2011 - 14:39

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): An important Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon session on finalising a special commission's recommendations for the speaker's election ended on an inconclusive note on Wednesday when some parliamentarians came to blows.

A numbers of lawmakers exchanged punches after trading harsh words over suggestions on electing a new speaker of the lower house. Over the past few weeks, several rounds of voting failed to yield any result.

As Mohammad Mohaqiq, a public representative from Kabul and the commission's head, explained the recommendations, MP Nasima Niazi asked him not to go into details and restrict his speech to the panel's decision.

"Let's know your decision; there is no need for a long-winding speech on the subject," said the female parliamentarian from southern Helmand province.

This prompted Mohaqiq to ask her to explain the issue if she was familiar with it. In response, Niazi quipped: "I'm neither impolite nor among the individuals who hammered nails into people's heads."

The Hazara community, led by Mohaqiq, allegedly tortured its opponents by driving nails into their heads during the civil strife.

Mohaqiq and other Hazara representatives protested the remarks and started thumping their desks. The session was prorogued as the protesting members sought a formal apology from Niazi.

Meanwhile, a representative from Ghazni, Huma Sultani, attacked Niazi and a quarrel erupted. And Shukriya Paikan, a legislator from Kunduz, started beating the interim secretary, Naheed Farid Ahmadi, saying that she was not given ample time to express her views.

Since the inauguration of the new Parliament by President Hamid Karzai on Jan. 26, eight rounds of voting have been held to elect the speaker, but none of the runners has been able to win more than 50 votes.


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