Senators differ on dealing with war criminals

KABUL (PAN): Some Meshrano Jirga members on Tuesday called for removing war criminals’ names from the list of presidential candidates, but others called such an effort is a conspiracy against the democratic process.
The list featured. Abdullah Abdullah, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai,  Nadir Naeem, Daud Sultanzoy, Abdur Rahim Wardak, Zalmai Rassoul, Qutbuddin Hilal, Qayyum Karzai, Hidayat Amin Arsala, Gul Agha Sherzai and Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf.
Some days back, the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) had said some candidates were facing allegations of land grab and human rights violations. The complaints have been referred to prosecutors for investigations.
The presidential runners, if found guilty, would be struck off the list, IECC authorities said, pledging all-out efforts to conduct free and fair elections in April 2014.
Speaking in the upper house of parliament, a woman legislator from western Farah province alleged the presidential candidates’ list featured the names of some war criminals.
Balqis Roshan, without naming anyone, said: “The nation’s blood is dropping from beards and neckties of some people on the list. They should not be among the runners.”
Her colleague from northern Balkh province Farida Kochai shared the call. “There are some vice-presidential candidates who had bundled dozens of Taliban into containers before burying them alive. Such hopefuls must meet their nemesis.”
But Senator Hidayatullah Rihayee viewed efforts at removing candidate names from the list as a conspiracy. “The government has asked the Taliban several times to contest the polls. Aren’t the Taliban human rights violators? Haven’t they killed the Afghans? How can they participate in elections?”
Lawmaker from Ghazni province Mohammad Amin Ahmadi demanded all war criminals should be punished instead of a few being singled out. “No one should think the mujahideen are war criminals; they will be rewarded for jihad.”
Deputy Speaker Mohammad Alam Ezedyar, who chaired the session, ruled all contenders should be treated in accordance with the relevant law. Violations of the law could lead to a serious crisis, he warned.

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