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    Helmand residents feel abandoned after election

    LASHKARGAH (PAN): The partnership between parliamentary representatives from the southern province of Helmand and their constituents lasted only until the end of the election, residents say.

    A resident of Nava district, Khalilullah, said that as soon as the winning candidates reached parliament, they cut the links with their constituents.

    “The parliamentarians made promises and then they cheated us. Their friendship was based on their own interests,” he said.

    They won votes from the people by inviting them for meals and telling them lies during the election campaign, he added.

    Another resident of the district, Abdul Qadar, said that this term of parliament was the same as the last, when representatives cheated them and passed the time without providing any services for their constituents.

    In his opinion, Abdul Jabar Qahraman was the only representative to address the needs of the people, and he was disqualified by the special election court verdict issued last month. That court was appointed by President Hamid Karzai to investigate allegations of fraud in last year’s parliamentary election. The court’s verdict overturned the results of 62 races that had been authorized by the independent election commission.

    Some residents in Helmand complain that their representatives are using their positions to aggrandize their own wealth.

    “Despite not working for the people, the representatives seized land that was specified for employees of the agriculture department in Lashkargah,” said a resident of Garmsair district, Abdul Samad.

    He said that members of the Wolesi Jirga and some local officials only bring reconstruction projects to the province that will bring them money, rather than projects that will benefit the people.

    They acquired votes through fraud, he added, and then approved reconstruction projects on the condition that contracts would be awarded to companies that share profits with the parliamentarians, he said.

    The candidates used money and their personal relations to reach the Wolesi Jirga, even though they had no qualifications for the position, said a resident of Lashkargah, Mohammad Sharif.

    He added that some of the representatives are working for the benefit of the people, while also working for their own benefit.

    A resident of Kajaki district, Mullah Alauddin, said that the representatives don’t struggle for the people because they used fraud to attain their positions.

    And according to another resident of Lashkargah, Hajji Mohammad Sadiq, the parliamentarians create hurdles in Kabul for local officials who want to help the province, because they want to control those local officials.

    Abdul Jabar Qahraman, an MP who was disqualified by the special election court, said the lower house has been locked in a dispute for a long time. Besides being busy with his responsibilities in parliament, he says he went to Helmand several times to listen to the problems and complaints of the people.

    “I brought 842 complaints from the people of Helmand to Kabul, most of which were about municipality affairs. I also have talked with some ministries about security and the reconstruction of Helmand,” he said.

    There are eight seats from Helmand province in the Wolesi Jirga, two of which are reserved for women.

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