KABUL - A majority of Wolesi Jirga members on Saturday voted overwhelmingly for barring colleagues from withdrawing their requests to summon a minister, ending tension within the lower house.
The vote came after some legislators withdrew the forms they had submitted for summoning Finance Minister Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal and Interior Minister Mujtaba Patang.
More than a dozen of the 61 MPs later dropped their requests and 11 of 57 MPs cancelled their forms to summon Patang, reducing the required percentage (50 MPs) required for calling the cabinet members.
The cancellation drew harsh criticism from some parliamentarians and the situation turned ugly on Thursday when two MPs traded blows over the issue.
Under Article 92 of the Constitution, a minister could be summoned if 50 MPs fill out the relevant forms. If the minister summoned fails to satisfy the house with his/her explanations, a no-confidence motion can be considered.
Zakhilwal has accused some lawmakers of making illegal demands on his ministry.
Mohammad Akbari, who represents central Bamyan province, told Saturday's session withdrawing the requests to summon a minister was an insult to the house. He strongly criticized MPs for retracting their decision against the ministers who accused the members of smuggling drugs and making illegal demands.
Other members too came hard on their colleagues for backing out of their requests. Finally, the house voted to prevent members from withdrawing their pleas. (Pajhwok)