MPs seek deterrent punishment for Farkhanda’s killers
The woman, Farkhanda, was subjected to mob violence on Thursday after she was accused of burning a copy of the Quran, an allegation that investigators have rejected as false.
The mob beat Farkhanda before throwing her body off a roof, running over it with a car, setting it on fire and throwing it into a river near a well-known mosque. Eyewitnesses said the men were chanting anti-America and anti-democracy slogans while beating the woman.
But the Ministry of Haj and Religious Affairs said no incident of Quran’s burning had taken place in the area. The authorities have detained 11 suspects in connection with the lynching and fired 13 police officials who failed to save her.
The attack appeared to have grown out of a dispute between Farkhanda, who had just finished a degree in religious studies and was preparing to take a teaching post, and men who sold amulets at Shah-Do Shamshera shrine, where the killing happened.
The incident that shocked many Afghans and raised renewed calls for justice and reform drew heated debates on the national assembly’s floor, with some lawmakers proving unable to control their emotions.
Habiba Sadat, a lower house member from southern Helmand province, asked the authorities concerned to award the perpetrators the harshest punishment possible. “If they are not given an exemplary punishment, such incidents will increase,” she warned.
Her colleague from central Uruzgan province, Rehana Azad, held similar views. “If the president is unable to protect people, he should resign.”
President Ashraf Ghani, now in Washington on his first state visit to the United States since taking office in September, condemned the killing as a "heinous attack" and ordered an investigation.
Mualvi Ahmadulla Moahid, a lawmaker from eastern Nuristan province, told the session that injustice had been done with Farkhanda and her killers should be stoned to death. “No human, but only God has the right to burn people.”
“Infidels and apostates sitting in shrines and mosques are earning a bad name to Islam and they use and sell religion for their own benefit. Such individuals must be kicked out of shrines and mosques,” he remarked.
Wolesi Jirga secretary Abdul Rauf Inami said: “The killing of Farkhanda has saddened me deep. Humanity was hanged in Kabul on Thursday. It was a heinous crime committed in the name of religion.”
He claimed Farkhanda had been killed by drugs dependent amulet sellers, who should endure punishment for their crime.
First deputy speaker Abdul Zahir Qadir said: “We have not come here to shed tears, we should call right what is right and wrong what is wrong…with unity, we should demand justice for Farkhanda.”
Without going into details, Qadir, a powerful figure from eastern Nangarhar province, alleged Farkhanda’s lynching was pre-planned. He said a special commission should be constituted to probe the murder.
The Wolesi Jirga released a statement asking the government to punish the killers of Farkhanda and their supporters in accordance with the law. It said police officers who had committed negligence should be dismissed and prosecuted.
A day earlier, the Ministry of Interior said 13 suspects had been arrested in connection with the murder and were being investigated. The suspects included the second police district chief.
In a statement, the Wolesi Jirga urged the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Justice, religious scholars and other departments concerned to launch a strong campaign against myths.
Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, condemning the incident, ordered the creation of a parliamentary commission, headed by Qadir, to investigate the lynching and brief the house on its findings.
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