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MPs assail govt officials over attending Kabul rally

MPs assail govt officials over attending Kabul rally

May 16, 2016 - 22:55

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon or lower house of parliament members on Monday asked the government to review the composition of a commission tasked with reviewing the route of a multinational power import project from Turkmenistan.

After widespread protests in Kabul, the Presidential Palace on Monday announced the government would follow suggestions of the special commission tasked with reviewing the multinational power project route.

The Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TUTAP) power project will import 500kv of electricity from the Central Asian states to energy-starved Pakistan throughAfghanistan.

The Ministry of Water and Energy (MoWE) has recommend the project be implemented through the Salang Pass crossing Baghlan province, but thousands of protestors have stressed the scheme must pass through central Bamyan.

Government officials said Bamyan would be connected via a separate power line from central Parwan province to resolve the electricity problems -- an argument that has cut little ice with opponents of the route change.

A statement from the Presidential Palace said that protest demonstrations in line with the country laws were the right of people and the government had taken special measures for better security of rallies.

At today’s session of the lower house, some lawmakers strongly criticised government officials for taking part in the mammoth protest rally staged by the Hazara minority, who dominate Bamyan’s population.

High Peace Councilinfo-icon deputy head Mohammad Karim Khalili, second chief executive officer Mohammad Muhaqqid, deputy Wolesi Jirga speaker Nimatullah Ghaffari and some MPs took part in the rally in Kabul, calling for the project line to be routed through Bamyan province instead of Salang Passinfo-icon.

Lawmaker Mirbat Khan Mangal from southeastern Paktia province told the session that it was for the first time in the history that government officials protested against the government.

He said organizing rallies by government officials was a matter of concern and alleged that some individuals at the behest of outsiders wanted to sabotage the TUTAP project.

“We will not allow anyone to fuel differences on ethnic lines. Officials who participated in the protest demonstration are members of the commission tasked with reviewing the project route, something not acceptable to us. Impartial people should be part of the panel,” Mangal remarked.

Headed by Dr. Mohammad Humayun, presidential advisor, the commission is comprised of Barna Karimi, Afghanistaninfo-icon ambassador in Canada, Faziullah Zaki, the deputy spymaster, Wolesi Jirga members Abdul Qayum Sajjadi, Asadullah Sadati, Ahmad Behzad, Haji Almas Zahid and Ustad Mohammad Akbari.

Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon’s second deputy chairman Hasibullah Kalimzai, Urban Development Minister Mansour Naderi, Economy Minister Abdul Sattar Murad, Afghanistan ambassador in Pakistaninfo-icon Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal and Eng. Nasir Ahmad are also members of the commission.

Behzad, Sajjadi, Sadati and Akabri took part in today’s protest rally in Kabul.

“Members of the commission are not acceptable to us,” said lawmaker Nadir Khan Katawazai, who asked the house administrative board to prevent a handful of people from fueling ethnic differences and playing with the future of the country.

“We give no one the right to create divisions among the Afghans on ethnic lines. The Hazara youth should be aware of their leaders’ intentions who want to misuse your sentiments.”

MP Mohammad Naeem Lali Hamidzai from southern Kandahar province said: “Everyone from a cabinet minister to a member of the house administrative board who fuel ethnic tension are sold souls, they are slaves and there should be an uprising against them.”

“I ask the people of Kandahar to be ready, it is foreign plot. We don’t want electricity through Bamyan and the project be implemented through the actual route, the commission is not acceptable to us.”

Other lawmakers, who insisted on the project’s execution via Salang Pass, asked the government to review the commission’s composition.

But speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said the law had granted the lower house the authority to make legislation but lawmakers had turned the house into a place of debates on tribes and religion.

“To study the TUTAP route, the government, particularly the president, has appointed a delegation, which is his authority and we can’t stop the president from executing his powers. We hope the president’s decision will find a solution which is acceptable to all.”

But the speaker said no official could participate in anti-government protests and urged lawmakers and politicians to avoid actions promoting ethnic, religious and linguistic differences and struggle to find a logical solution to the problem.


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