Hundreds rally in Ghazni as graft-tainted mayor reinstated
GHAZNI CITY (Pajhwok): Hundreds of people on Sunday took to the streets against the reinstatement of once unseated mayor over corruption charges in southern Ghazni province.
President Ghani removed Mayor Faridon Ahmadi over corruption allegations and replaced him with Eng. Nasir Ahmad Lailzai about four months ago.
But the mayor’s replacement sparked protests in Ghazni because the new mayor was from Pasthun tribe and the protestors remained camped in Ghazni City, the provincial capital, for 13 days.
The protestors had been claiming the mayoral seat was the right of Tajik people and Pashtuns could not hold the mayoral post, but three days ago the president reinstated Faridon Ahmadi despite corruption allegations, again triggering protests.
Hundreds of people on Sunday protested against the president’s decision to reinstate the graft-tainted mayor and blocked the Kabul-Kandahar highway for two hours against traffic.
Several members of the provincial council, tribal elders, civil society activists and common people took part in the protest demonstration.
They demanded the president refrain from fueling divisions among the people of Ghazni. One of the protest organizers and provincial council member Abdul Jami Jami said the new mayor had told them that they should not protest.
“But the people of Ghazni have emerged to demand their right and they will raise their voice until their demand is met,” he said.
The public representative said the president had assured them that he would resolve the issue in one month, but they wanted an early solution.
He said they would stage a sit-in in Ghazni City on Thursday and they would remain there until the mayor was removed.
The protestors said they would not accept Faridon Ahmadi as mayor.
Nimatullah, another protestor, said the president had first ridiculed himself and then people of Ghazni by removing a corrupt mayor and reinstating him.
“Supporters of Faridon are those who are involved in corruption and lang-grabbing, that’s why they oppose his replacement.”
The new governor of Ghazni, Abdul Karim Matin, yesterday urged the people not to protest against the presidential order and let the government do its job.
“I have no option but to implement the presidential order and the people of Ghazni should also accept his order,” the governor said.
Sources said the president had talked to the protestors over the phone and had assured them an early solution to the problem.
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