14 lawmakers assassinated since 2004
KABUL (PAN): With the death of a Wolesi Jirga member in a suicide attack on a wedding reception in northern Samangan province on Saturday, the number of parliamentarians killed so far since 2004 has reached 14.
Ahmad Khan Samangani was among 20 people killed in the suicide attack on his daughter’s wedding party in Aibak, Samangan’s capital.
The dead included provincial intelligence chief Khan Mohammad, former Samangan governor Iqbal Munib and the Jamait-i-Islami party leader for northern Balkh province Zalmai Younisi, officials said.
Another 40 people were injured in the blast that came as guests were entering the wedding hall. They included police chief Syed Ahmad Sami.
Born in 1957 in Aibak, Samangani was a prominent Jamiati Islami commander during the jihad against Soviets. After the mujhaidin’s victory, he joined the Jamiat-i-Islami Afghanistan led by Abdul Rashid Dostum.
Samangani contested the 2010 fraud-plagued parliamentary elections and was declared winner in preliminary results announced by the election commission, but later his name was removed from winners’ list.
His disqualification sparked violent protests from his supporters throughout Samangan, asking the poll panel to review its decision.
Later, President Hamid Karzai ordered the creation of a special court, a panel of five judges, to investigate fraud allegations. Samangani was among 62 candidates declared winners by the court.
However, the Independent Election Commission did not agree with the ruling and when the new parliament was inaugurated by Karzai, Samangani was among nine candidates who were allowed to enter parliament house.
Two other lawmakers – Mohammad Hashim Watanwal from central Uruzgan and Abdul Mutalib Baig from northern Takhar province – had been killed over the past one year.
Watanwal was killed along with Karzai’s adviser Jan Mohammad Khan in a gun attack in Kabul and Abdul Mutalib was killed in a suicide attack in Takhar.
During its first tenure 2004-2010, the Wolesi Jirga or lower house of parliament lost 10 members --- Mohammad Islam Mohammadi (Samangan) Mustafa Kazmi (Kabul), Sahibur Rahman Himmat (Kunar), Sibghatullah Zaki (Takhar), Abdul Matin (Helmand), Mohammad Arif Zarif (Kabul) Nazak Mir Sarfaraz (Kunduz), Fazl Rahman Chamkani (Pakita), Haji Habibullah (Kandahar) and Daud Mohammad Khan (Helmand).
The upper house or Meshrano Jirga had lost one of its members in the previous term.
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