MPs ask govt leaders to resolve Junbish-Jamiat tension
KABUL (Pajhwok): Some Meshrano Jirga or Senate members on Sunday asked the government to intervene and resolve differences between the Junbish and Jamait-i-Islami parties, saying such ethnic tension was not in the interest of the country.
The tensions have erupted between supporters of Vice-President Abdul Rashid Dostum, who leads the Junbish party, and Balkh acting governor Atta Mohammad Noor, who heads the Jamiat party.
Supporters of Dostum and Noor had participated in rival demonstrations in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif on March 22. Some of the protesters were reportedly armed.
The demonstrations followed outrage over the removal of several portraits of Dostum that had been prominently displayed on billboards overlooking busy intersections in the city.
But the tension spread to Faryab province, where two weeks ago, gunmen loyal to the two parties clashed, leaving 10 dead on both sides.
And two days ago, a number of people, including Junbish supporters, held a protest rally in Mazar-i-Sharif, demanding the removal of Noor as the acting governor.
Senator Mohammad Alam Ezedyar told today’s session that tribal and ethnic differences were not in the interest of the people and the government should take action against elements fueling the tension and exploiting the situation.
Another Meshrano Jirga member, Nazar Mohammad Faqiri from northern Balkh province, referred to the recent protests in Balkh and said the unity government leaders should remove the acting governor, who has held on to power over the past more than a decade.
The lawmaker said the government should appoint a governor of Balkh who was not from the two rival parties, calling tribal and factional differences as detrimental to the state and the people.
Faqiri called Balkh governor Atta Mohammad Noor as a dictator and said all those appointed to government posts in Balkh belonged to the same party.
But another member of the upper house, Jumauddin Gayanwal, supported Atta Mohammad Noor. “The governor of Balkh is not a dictator but a national personality and should not be disrespected.”
“No one has the right to insult parties and their leaders, every party has supporters. We want the government to intervene and resolve the issue between the Junbish and Jamiat parties,” another lawmaker Gulalai Akbari said.
“There are people who want to disrupt the situation in Balkh through protests and conflict,” she said, but did not elaborate.
Akbari and several other senators called for the differences between the two parties to be resolved and said a government delegation should be appointed to mediate between the two groups.
Senate chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar said as the head of the upper house, he could not tolerate listening to factional and tribal differences. He also said a delegation should be sent to Balkh to investigate the issue and find a solution.
He said the government leaders were bound to take measures for addressing the tension between the two parties. Muslimyar also urged supporters of the two parties to keep the national interest supreme and shun their differences.
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