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Plot seen behind Barakzai's hunger strike

Plot seen behind Barakzai's hunger strike

Oct 12, 2011 - 20:44

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Newly appointed lawmakers on Wednesday accused some parliamentarians of motivating a female ousted colleague to hunger strike to gain political advantage of her strike.

It was the eleventh day of ousted parliamentarian Simeen Barakzai's hunger strike. The 32 years old from the western Herat province, through chapped lips and in a rough voice, said Sunday she would not drink or eat anything until President Hamid Karzai opened an investigation into vote fraud by the woman who has taken over her seat. In August, the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) announced eight MPs, including Barakzai, as failed and declared as many successful previously certified as having lost the Sept 18, 2010 parliamentary election.

Barakzai started her hunger strike on October 2 in a tent near the parliament and her healthinfo-icon is deteriorating.

The ousted MPs have all held demonstrations against their removal, but former journalist and beautician Barakzai has vowed to fast to the death, if necessary. Doctors have said her kidneys may be suffering permanent damage.

"There is a political plot behind the strike," representative from Zabul province, Hameedullah Tokhi, told the Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon on Wednesday.

"It is very bad to take a woman to death for political reasons and put her in a tent," he said without explaining the political objectives.

"Certain MPs are trying to divert the house attention from real issues on behalf of foreign countries," Mehmud Khan Sulimankhel, an MP representing southeastern Paktika province, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

"If someone claims that Barakzai and Rahima Jami have won the elections, they must go to Herat for a vote recount," said Nisar Ahmad Khan Ghoryani, an MP from Herat told the house.

On the other hand, President Hamid Karzai, through Wolesi Jirga’s speaker, has asked Barakzai to choose two representatives to investigate her case.

A group of about 30 lawmakers,  many of them in leadership positions in parliament, have called for Karzai to open a formal investigation into her case. They gathered in the small tent outside parliament where Barakzai lies on a cot on Sunday afternoon and told her that they were hopeful that Karzai would meet their demands.


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