Thousands of Dostum loyalists rally in north
SAR-I-PUL (Pajhwok): Protesters in northern Sar-i-Pul and Samangan provinces on Wednesday asked the government to identify and take legal action against individuals involved in removing portraits of the First Vice President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum in the capital of northern Balkh province.
Numbering around 3,000, the protestors, coming from various districts, rallied in Sar-i-Pul City, the provincial capital, and demanded punishment for those who brought down two portraits of the VP in Mazar-i-Sharif on the new year’s night.
A similar protest was held in Aibak, the capital of Samangan province, where thousands of Dostum’s supporters demanded punishment for the individuals who insulted the VP by removing his photos.
Mesharano Jirga or upper house of the parliament on Tuesday stressed the need for defusing tensions raised after the removal of the VP’s portraits.
The lawmakers asked the government to deal with individuals involved in the incident in accordance with the law and alleged that it was the act of Afghanistan’s enemy aimed at creating division between Afghans.
Some of the portraits installed at various parts of Mazar-i-Sharif were brought down on the New Year’s night by unknown persons.
Junbish party’s youth wing leader Kanishka Turkistani told Pajhwok Afghan News they had installed the VP’s pictures at different parts of the city on the occasion of New Year’s celebrations in coordination with Dostum’s office media section.
But two pictures of Dostum had been removed from Kamgar and Barakat squares on the New Year’s night. “The pictures were removed by some foolish persons with the help of a pick-up vehicle.”
On his Facebook page, Governor Atta Mohammad Noor wrote: “I believe removing or tearing apart pictures of the Vice-President is the handiwork of miscreants and elements seeking disturbance, but we will never allow anyone to create disturbance by resorting to removing or tearing pictures.”
Some of today’s protesters, however, accused the Balkh governor of having hand in the removal of Dostum’s pictures form billboards.
The protesters passed a resolution at the end, asking the government to arrest and punish the perpetrators. Senator Mohammad Azim Qoyash read out the resolution.
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