Barakzai's hunger strike continues
KABUL (PAN): In a show of solidarity with a hunger strike ousted female lawmaker, three civil society members on behalf of their organisations on Tuesday started hunger strike, vowing to continue their strike until the MP's demands were met.
Dozens of Kabul citizens on Tuesday also vowed to join Samin Barakzai, the expelled Wolesi Jirga member, who has been on hunger strike for last 10 days after she was unseated for alleged voter fraud in last year's parliamentary election.
Barakzai was among nine sitting MPs expelled from parliament by the election commission, which declared successful as many candidates previously certified as having lost the parliamentary polls.
It has been 10 days since Barakzai launched her hunger strike against her removal in a tent in front of the national assembly. On Monday, Barakzai vowed to continue her hunger strike until her reinstatement to Wolesi Jirga.
Ajmal Suhail on behalf of Afghanistan Liberal Party, Tufan Waziri on behalf of Millat Society and Munir Farehman on behalf of Kabul Youth Union began hunger strike to show solidarity with Barakzai.
Ajmal Suhail said they waited too much for the government to accept her demands, so she could end her strike. Barakzai was unable to speak on the 10th day of her hunger strike.
"If Barakzai does not end hunger strike, she will lose her life", a member of parliament from western Herat province, Salih Mohammad Saljuqi, said.
Kabul citizens, including university students, on Tuesday visited Barakzai's tent to voice their support for her. They observed silence for 30 minutes.
The Coalition for Change and Hope in a statement said the government has no care for Barakzai's health condition and has been unable to seek a possible solution to the problem.
The statement said the government would be responsible for Barakzai's death.
In her will, Barakzai said President Karzai, First Vice President Muhammad Qasim Fahim, Independent Election Commission (IEC) head Fazal Ahmad Manawi and Wolesi Jirga Speaker Abdur Rauf Ibrahimi would be responsible, if she died.
In a statement, Young Women for Change called for quick action to maintain justice and save the former parliamentarian’s life by a transparent re-examination of her case. “I will become a martyr because there are no ears to hear my voice,” the statement quoted Barakzai as saying, when several member of Young Women for Change visited her.
"Her health is worsening. Doctors at the Isteqlal Public Hospital have declared that the continuation of the hunger strike can have deadly consequences," the statement said.
It said the facts of Barakzai’s case shocked all those struggling for a democratic and peaceful Afghanistan. "No doubt, if like several male political protesters, had Barakzai warned the government to fill the roads with people who will be able to burn the city with their anger, her protest would have got more attention. And, if Barakzai was a man, she would have been granted full media coverage by every news channel and the government would have accepted her wishes," it said.
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