Kabul: Meshrano Jirga lends weight to Helmand sit-ins

KABUL: Meshrano Jirga members on Sunday threw their weight behind an ongoing movement for peace in southern Helmand province.

A number of youth, including women, have erected tents over the past eight days in Lashkargah, the provincial capital, to demand peace after a suicide attack killed 16 people and injured 55 others.

During the sit-ins, a number of protesters went on hunger strike three days back, with six ending in hospital on Saturday after their condition deteriorated.

However, later religious scholars urged the protesters to end their hunger strike. The protest has been ongoing.

Meshrano Jirga or upper house members on Sunday discussed the Helmand’s youth protest tent in support of the peace process.

Senator Mohammad Hasham Alokozai supported the ongoing rare demonstration in Helmand for peace and said: “If any side to the conflict does not peace, the nation would decide their fate because people are tired of the war.”

He urged residents of other provinces to support the movement in Helmand and stand for peace in their areas.

Mohammad Alam Izedyar, first deputy speaker, supported the peace movement of Helmand youths which included women as well and termed their protest a rejection of the war. He stressed the movement should be extended to others provinces too.

Nisar Ahmad Haris, another senator, accused the Taliban of rejecting the peace offer and said: “Rejecting the peace offer or giving a negative response in fact is rejecting the tents for peace.”

He also urged other provinces residents to support such movements across the country and join the Helmand tent of peace.

Senator Zalmai Zabulai said: “As long as the countrymen do not work for peace, foreigners would never bring it to us.”

He also supported the protest movement in Helmand and agreed to send a delegation to the tent.

A number of others senators expressed similar thoughts about the tent and strongly agreed to send a delegation to Helmand.

Senate chairman Fazal Hadi Muslimyar supported the Helmand movement and termed it ‘a well start.’

“In order to formerly support the Helmand youth’s campaign for peace, we would send a delegation on behalf of the Meshrano Jigar to make decision based on a majority vote,” he said.

By Khwaja Basir Fitri

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