Expelled Afghan MP ends 18-day hunger strike
Last Updated: Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 23:27
Kabul: An Afghan female politician called off an 18-day hunger strike on Wednesday and began eating at the request of a senior cleric, ending a gruelling protest over her expulsion from parliament.

Semin Barakzai, one of nine MPs expelled from the war-torn nation's assembly last month as part of a year-long dispute over the vote results, had vowed not to eat unless she was reinstalled.

On October 14, Kabul police broke into her tent and forced her to hospital after an increasing number of students and rights activists had begun to join her in hunger strike, a rare move in the war-torn country.

"I want you to end your hunger strike. I promise to take up your case and defend your rights," cleric and senator Hazrate Sebghatullah Mujadidi told Barakzai as he helped her eat her first spoons of soup.

As she ate the soup from his shaky hands the politician told him: "For your respect I end my hunger strike and I hope you will surely be my defender and defend my rights against injustice."

At her bed in a fancy VIP room at Kabul's Sardar Mohammad Daud military hospital, Barakzai broke into tears as reporters asked her about her feelings after she broke her fast.

Afghans voted in September 2010 but the results were only finalised a year later after rows broke out over claims of fraud and mismanagement of the poll.

In the final result, the vote authorities replaced nine MPs, including Barakzai, who comes from the western province of Herat, with those initially declared losers.

Today, Barakzai turned down Mujadidi's offer of his senate seat.

"My protest was not for seat or position. It was for restoration of justice," she told him tearfully.


First Published: Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 23:27

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