Clerics seen behind violent Mazar protest
KABUL (PAN): A parliamentary delegation has found religious clerics responsible for an assault on a UN office in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif during a protest demonstration against the Quran burning on April 1.
"The main reason which turns the protest violent is inflaming speeches by some imams," the delegation said in its report presented to the Meshrano Jirga or upper house of the Parliament on Sunday.
Ten foreign employees with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)'s compound were killed when the protest turned violent.
Another 19 people, including a foreigner, were injured after demonstrators fired gun shots at guards of the office.
The Meshrano Jirga has sent a delegation to probe the incident. During its investigation, the team met with provincial governor, police chief, intelligence head and some other officials, the delegation head Roh Gul Khairzad, said.
She accused Maulvi Abdul Rauf Twana, Maulvi Zakirullah, Maulvi Abdul Wakeel Forqani, Maulvi Abdul Hadi and Maulvi Abdul Qahir of delivering emotional preaches to protestors during the demonstration
"The imams also confirm their speeches provoked protestors to storm the UNAMA office," she said, but did not provide further deials.
Abdul Hadi, one of the accused imams, strongly rejected the team's report. "I did not deliver any speech which could cause the demonstration go violent," he said.
He said the plan was to burn a US flag at the UNAMA square, but some anti-government elements, who had infiltrated the protestors, misused the opportunity.
However, he did not elaborate in this regard.
"Ulema favour peaceful protests. They do not convince protestors for violence," senator Maulvi Muhiyuddin Munsif, said.
He asked Balkh governor and other officials concerned to arrest the real culprits behind the incident.
As many as 33 suspects have been arrested in connection with the attack, Khairzad, quoted local officials, as saying.
Another upper house member, Zalmai, told the house that local officials should be held responsible for the onslaught for their failure to take a timely action.
The delegation supposed introducing local officials, including the governor, Atta Mohammad, to the office of prosecutor in the incident.
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