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This Afghan MP Has Been In Hot Water Before, But Trashing A Pastry Shop Takes The Cake

Afghan Lawmaker Trashes Pastry Shop
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WATCH: Afghan Lawmaker Trashes Pastry Shop

Afghan lawmaker Homa Sultani is no stranger to controversy.

Representing volatile Ghazni Province in the lower house of the Afghan parliament, the Wolesi Jirga or People's Council, Sultani once claimed to have hosted and wept despairingly with fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Omar (who has since reportedly died).

In 2013, Sultani reportedly assaulted a policeman outside the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul, earning opprobrium for what the Afghan Interior Ministry described as "an illegal act."

In 2016, Sultani was criticized after reportedly praising a suicide attack that killed seven employees of commercial broadcaster Tolo Television. The Taliban had claimed responsibility. Sultani had been quoted as calling the suicide bomber a “martyr” and his victims “bastards.”

In the latest incident, the 44-year-old Soltani is accused of trashing a pastry shop in the Afghan capital amid a dispute with the shop’s owner, who reportedly kicked out several child beggars who entered the shop alongside Soltani and for whom Soltani had bought pastries.

CCTV footage that has gone viral on social media appears to show Sultani going on a rampage in the Aysan Pastry shop, smashing a glass display with a chair and throwing out and damaging a table and several chairs.

A child was said to have been slightly injured in the September 2 skirmish.

The shop’s owner, Seyed Omid Amiri Malek, told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan that Sultani attacked him both verbally and physically after he asked her guests to leave.

“Mrs. Homa Sultani entered my shop in an abnormal state. She brought with her two [or] three of the beggars who always beg outside and annoy people," he said. "I approached them and said, 'Now that they have eaten their cakes, they should leave if possible because they disturb the clients.

“All of a sudden, she stood up and started cursing at me,” he said, then added that she had punched him in the face.

Sultani did not respond to repeated RFE/RL requests for comment.

Some Afghans suggested via social media that the shop owner had angered Sultani by slapping one of the child beggars she had invited.

In the CCTV video posted online, Sultani slams one of the shop's chairs to the ground, apparently damaging it, before she falls when at least one man shoves her as she tries to slam a second chair on the ground while she is being pushed out the door.

Sultani goes on to overturn a table and drag it outside, then slams a chair into an outside window before smashing a glass display case.

A number of Afghan voices emerged questioning Sultani's actions and accusing her of abusing her power.

“Our house of representatives is no place for such individuals who take law into their hands -- utterly despicable,” former BBC journalist Bilal Sarwari, who is running for parliament, said via Twitter.

Journalist and activist Wais Barakzai stated flatly: "This is our female member of parliament. Breaking everything in a shop."

Others praised Sultani for apparently helping the beggars but suggested that she should have resolved the dispute peacefully.

"Regardless of the reason for her anger, she should not have demonstrated such behavior," Facebook user Fatima Sharifi commented under a BBC post.

The head of the Wolesi Jirga's complaints section, Obaidollah Barakzai, condemned the incident to RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan.

“According to Islam and the constitution, no one -- not even the president -- has the right to dishonor [someone else] or damage someone’s property,” Barakzai said.

He called on the Afghan government to amend laws on parliamentary immunity while also calling on judicial bodies to investigate the pastry-shop scuffle.

Afghan officials, including former militia commanders, have long been accused of abusing power and taking the law into their own hands, sometimes resulting in deaths or other serious consequences.

With reporting by RFE/RL Radio Free Afghanistan correspondent Javid Hassanzadeh

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