Disqualified Afghan MPs barred from parliament

Nine Afghan lawmakers kicked out of the country`s lower house as part of efforts to end a long-running vote-rigging row were refused access to parliament.

Last Updated: Sep 04, 2011, 00:53 AM IST

Kabul: Nine Afghan lawmakers kicked out of
the country`s lower house as part of efforts to end a
long-running vote-rigging row were refused access to
parliament on Saturday.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) last month
ordered that the nine MPs be replaced, after almost a year of
street protests and controversy over last September`s
fraud-tainted parliamentary polls.

While nine was far lower than other figures previously
floated -- a special tribunal said in June it should be 62, a
quarter of all lawmakers -- the ruling still prompted fury
among many politicians.

The row has raised questions about transparency in Afghan
politics and is prolonging uncertainty as foreign combat
forces start withdrawals ahead of a 2014 deadline for all of
them to leave.

Mohammad Rafiq Shaheer, a lawmaker from the western
province of Herat who is among the nine disqualified, told a news agency by telephone today: "We are outside the Parliament, the
security officials are not allowing us to enter the
parliament, and around 120 MPs... have also stood with us to
support us."

Today`s session opened with "new" MPs replacing those
thrown out by the IEC, a parliament official said.

Among the replacement lawmakers was Ahmad Khan, a
powerful warlord from northern Samangan province, who
confirmed toa news agency that he had taken his seat.

Ahmad Behzad, the second deputy speaker of the house
and a member of the main group opposing President Hamid
Karzai, condemned what he called an act of "treachery against
the parliament."

"President Karzai brought military coup to the
parliament... today, around 100 MPs from the Law support
coalition were not allowed to enter the Parliament by the
security forces," he said.

PTI