KABUL - President Hamid Karzai is pondering over imposition of emergency rule in the next few days, members of the ""'Wolesi Jirga, or lower house of Parliament, said on Saturday.
Baktash Siawash, a public representative from Kabul, told the house he had received information that the president might announce an emergency situation in the country, without consulting parliamentarians.
Under Article 64 of the constitution, the president, with support from Parliament, is authorised to announce an emergency situation.
Siawash insisted Karzai would have no legal justification for taking such a drastic step. "The imposition of emergency rule is a fanciful dream of those sitting in the Presidential Palace," he remarked.
The legislator quoted the International Crisis Group as saying that Karzai had made up his mind to announce emergency rule to end an ongoing tussle between his office and Parliament over a recent special election tribune verdict.
After months of hearing into allegations of rigging in the September 2010 parliamentary vote, the court found fraud in 33 out of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.
In its judgment on June 23, the panel said that 62 of 249 sitting parliamentarians are not qualified to hold their seats, based on the results of a vote recount the court ordered under Article 22 of Afghan election law.
According to Article 61, Karzai has no right to impose emergency rule, the lawmaker said. A meeting was ongoing at the Presidential Palace to replace the MPs who were found involved in electoral irregularities, Baktash added. "If the president imposes an emergency, he will meet the same fate as Egypt's former strongman Hosni Mubarak."
Without approval from the legislature, the president could not impose emergency, said Zahir Qadir, a parliamentarian from eastern Nangarhar province. "If Karzai wants to declare emergency, he views himself as a very powerful person."
But another lawmaker, Nadar Khan Katawazai, rejected the statements of his colleagues as baseless. No government official had so far revealed anything about emergency rule, he said.
Despite hectic efforts by Pajhwok Afghan News, the President Palace could not be reached for comments in this regard.