Expelled Afghan MP ends 18-day hunger strike

Semin Barakzai had vowed not to eat unless she was reinstalled.

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

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

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

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


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