Afghan woman MP critical in vote row hunger strike

Semin Barakzai, one of nine MPs expelled from the national assembly over vote rigging claims, has refused to eat until she is reinstated.

Kabul: An Afghan woman MP was in a critical
condition on Sunday, her doctor said, after entering the eighth
day of a hunger strike to protest against her expulsion from
parliament over alleged vote fraud.

Semin Barakzai, one of nine MPs expelled from the national
assembly over vote rigging claims, has refused to eat until
she is reinstated.

Her persistence comes one day after dozens of lawmakers
returned to the lower house of parliament, following an
initial boycott over the disqualifications.

"The law has been violated. Justice has been undermined
and I won`t end this (hunger strike) until justice is done and
the law restored," she told a news agency, lying in a protest tent
outside parliament and barely able to speak.

A doctor assigned to monitor Barakzai said she was
entering a critical condition after eight days without food.
"She`s not doing well. She already had stomach problems
and I`m afraid this is dangerous for her," Doctor Mohammad
Fardin said.

On Saturday, Barakzai`s blood pressure dropped and she was
given a drip overnight.

Today, Barakzai refused to take a further drip in front of
a news agency reporter. "I don`t want it," she whispered, shaking her
head.

Lying on a bed in a white tent, journalists, politicians
and rights activists streamed through the heavily guarded
neighbourhood to meet the MP.

She and eight other members of the Wolesi Jirga were
kicked out by the Independent Election Commission last August
in a bid to resolve nearly a year of disputes over widespread
graft in the September 2010 parliamentary polls.

PTI

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