MP on hunger strike in severe health condition: officials
KABUL (PAN): The public health ministry officials on Saturday said the female parliamentarian, who had gone on hunger strike for the seventh consecutive day, would face serious kidney and stomach problems if continued the strike for a day more.
Hailing from western Herat province, female lawmaker Samin Barakzai, unseated by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) in August, continued her fast for the seventh consecutive day on Saturday.
Barakzai was among nine sitting Wolesi Jirga members who were disqualified by the election commission, which declared as successful as many candidates previously certified as having lost the parliamentary polls.
On Thursday, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Humayun Aziz took Barakzai from her camp to the Presidential Palace. She returned to the tent after a meeting with President Hamid Karzai.
Despite President Hamid Karzai's assurance to look into her demand for reinstatement, Samin Barakzai refused to call off her hunger strike. But doctors administered serum to the parliamentarian to prevent her kidneys from failing.
Barakzai said the president had promised to take up the issue of her reinstatement with members of Parliament's Commission for Supervision of Constitution Implementation and the Supreme Court chief justice on Saturday.
"The president asked me to call off my hunger strike, assuring that my problem will be resolved. But I will continue with my fast unto death or reinstatement as a parliamentarian," she said in a quavering tone.
Relevant authorities are taking a fresh look at her case, according to Barakzai, who said: "If found involved in electoral fraud, I'm ready to return the salaries I have drawn."
Since Barakzai did not allow the use of serum and checkup of her blood pressure, possibly an ulcer would appear in her stomach, deputy health minister, Nadira Hayat, said soon after visiting the parliamentarian.
"Despite our efforts to provide health service to the protestor, we failed to do so," she said, adding her ministry demanded the officials concerned to immediately make a legal decision regarding Barakzai’s issue.
Accepting health services administered by the ministry officials did not mean that Barakzai ended her strike, she said. Meanwhile Zahir Qadir, head of the Law-Supporting Coalition, asked other parliamentarians to fight for Barakzai's rights.
Shakiba Hashmi, an MP from southern Kandahar province, asked the Afghan government and international community to address the demands of Barakzai.
On the first day of her fast, Barakzai warned she would observe hunger strike unto death or her reinstatement as a parliamentarian.
Also a member of the Law-Supporting Coalition, Barakzai alleged she was a victim of "a political game". Her unseating was tantamount to trampling on her voters' right, Barakzai remarked.
"I want to lead an honourable life, even if I have to live for a day. While alive, I can't brook my voters' and my personal rights being snatched," she concluded.
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