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MPs trade blows over summoning ministers

MPs trade blows over summoning ministers

Jan 15, 2013 - 19:52

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon (lower house) members on Tuesday came to blows over the issue of summoning nearly a dozen ministers for under-spending their development budgets.

The house summoned the 11 Cabinet ministers on Monday to explain why they could not use their uplift funds allocated to their ministries as part of the 2011 budget.

However, four of the 11 ministers did not appear and the remaining seven were not allowed by lawmakers to explain their positions.

The MPs were of the view all the summoned ministers had to appear and warned of bringing no confidence motion against a minister failing to arrive at the house.

Some lawmakers opposed summoning the ministers who did not hold their current portfolios last year. The opposition divided MPs and the situation took an ugly turn on Tuesday when a member from western Herat province, Farhad Majidi, entered a physical clash with his colleague from southern Kandahar, Amar Naeem Lalai.

Majidi said Lalai continued to insist at the weekly meeting of panel heads that the issue should be on the agenda for tomorrow. He opposed Laliai's call because it was more important to discuss the new budget.

The argument led to a scuffle between the two, with Majidi sustaining slight injuries in his head. "At this stage, the issue of summoning ministers is of no importance. What is important is to discuss and look into this year's accounts," Majidi remarked.

However, Lalai said Majidi wanted to save the power and energy minister, Ismail Khan.

At the meeting, he said, 11 panel heads were in favour and nine in opposition to calling the ministers on Wednesday. "I got angry when Majidi used inappropriate words," the MP said, but did not go into details. Lalai also accused the speaker of "being unwilling" to continue raising the matter.



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