New MPs sworn-in amid tight security
KABUL(PAN): Eight of nine new Wolesi Jirga members reinstated last month by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) were on Saturday administered oath by the house speaker, as police broke up a demonstration organised by the "Coalition for the Support of Enforcement of Law " in front of Parliament.
The 104-member coalition tried to help the disqualified lawmakers enter the house, but the heavy contingent of police blocked their entry.
The coalition then warned of boycotting the parliament, if the unseated parliamentarians were not allowed to enter the Wolesi Jirga.
The swearing in ceremony was witnessed only by a few dozens of lawmakers, while many others stood in solidarity with the unseated colleagues in front of the parliament building.
The CEC appointed nine new members and disqualified the same number after reviewing the material of Special Tribunal investigating the facts of falsification of ballots in the parliamentary elections held last fall.
It said the nine poll contenders had won more votes compared to the unseated lawmakers. The IEC decision came into effect on Saturday, days after Aug. 21, 2011, when the IEC announced nine sitting MPs as disqualified in favour of as many candidates
At around 11am, the coalition tried to help the nine disqualified MPs enter the house, but police thwarted their move by establishing security cordon around the parliament. All the 104 members of the coalition did not participate in the oath taking ceremony.
"It is a military coup against the parliament, where public representatives are not allowed to enter the house of the nation at gun point," Zahir Qadir, the coalition head, said. He said they would invite the civil society organizations to join them in boycotting the government.
However, Maulvi Shahzada Shahid, a member of another group of lawmakers, on the other hand, backed the IEC decision. He called for the IEC final decision to be implemented in order to resolve the political crisis.
According to the IEC decision, Abdul Qadeer will be replaced by Mahmood Khan Sulimankhel, Abdul Wali Niazai by Abdul Rauf, Mohammad Zahir Ghanizada by Ashuqullah Wafa, Mohammad Zahir by Ahmad Khan Samangani, Shakir Kargar by Mohammad Pahlawan, Semin Barakzai by Rahima Jamee, Rafiq Shahir by Nisar Ahmad Ghuryani, Massoud Khan Noorzai by Malim Mirwali and Abdul Habib Andiwal by Hamidullah Tokhai.
Only Nisar Ahmad Ghuryani, a poll winner from westernHeratprovince, was not present at the oath taking ceremony. Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said Ghuryani did not participate in the ceremony due to his personal engagements.
"The Wolesi Jirga implements the IEC decision and whatever happens in the future, it should be blamed on the government," Ibrahimi remarked.
The new comers expressed happiness over the oath taking ceremony. "After a long time, we are able to get our legal rights," Mahmood Khan Sulimankhel, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Police officials denied sending extra officers to the Parliament. But throughout the day, hundreds of police officers blocked the main parliamentary compound, and armored Humvees and police trucks with mounted machine guns stood poised along the pathways leading to it.
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