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    Sit-in an insult to Karzai: Meshrano Jirga

    KABUL (PAN): The Meshrano Jirga said on Sunday that the ongoing sit-in by some members of the lower house was illegal and amounted to insulting President Hamid Karzai.

    The Coalition for Enforcement of Law has been staging the sit-in since Thursday, a day after Karzai authorised the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to resolve the lingering dispute over the election results.

    In his decree, Karzai said the commission should "immediately finalise" the issue. The decree also dissolved the special election tribunal and disqualified other government bodies from ruling on the issue.

    During their four-day sit-in, the coalition accused the president of violating the constitution and trying to run for a third term. Head of the coalition, Abdul Zahir Qadeer, asked Karzai to stand down.

    "Some outlaws have come together, staging a sit-in, pitching tents in front of Parliament and asking the president to resign. They have no right to do so," said a Meshrano Jirga (upper house) member, Maulvi Sher Mohammad Akhunzada.

    Another senator, Amanullah from central Uruzgan province, branded the protestors as "power hungry".  The coalition members had little regard for the national interest, he alleged. "Such tactics will lead the country to political crisis."

    A senator from southeastern Paktia province, Abdul Hanan Haqwayun, claimed the protesting MPs were dictated by their foreign masters. "In no way can we tolerate the president's insult. The protestors have received money from foreigners. Subsequently, they pitched tents to degrade the president."

    Asking the Wolesi Jirga members to push their demands in a legal way, Senate Chairman Fazal Hadi Muslimyar said they would also support the MPs if they protested in a proper manner.

    The parliamentarians should try not to insult national figures, particularly the president, Muslimyar said, asking senators to avoid actions that could bring the house into disrepute.

    But the coalition head, Abdul Qadeer, insisted the senators were echoing the president's voice. "Our course of action is in no way illegal," he said.

    frm/mud