| ||Highest state medal conferred on ex-ministers|
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KABUL - President Hamid Karzai on Sunday conferred the most prestigious state medal on former defence minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak and ex-interior minister Bismillah Mohammadi.
During a ceremony at the Presidential Palace, Karzai bestowed the Ghazi Amanullah Khan Medal on the ousted ministers in recognition of what he called their meritorious services to the nation.
He also praised the ministers’ role in raising Afghanistan’s army and police, as well as strengthening the defence and interior ministries. Their contributions to the jihad against the former Soviet Union were also hailed.
On Aug. 4, the lower house of parliament unseated the ministers over barrages of rockets and missiles from Pakistan into eastern Afghanistan.
Summoned by the assembly over the cross-border shelling, the ministers answered a volley of queries from lawmakers. But the parliamentarians, unsatisfied with the ministerial explanations, voted against them.
Eighty-six MPs found Wardak’s remarks satisfactory, but as many expressed their dissatisfaction. When it came to voting, 146 ballots were cast against the defence minister.
Seventy-two votes were cast in the defence minister’s favour. Failing to achieve more than 50 percent of votes, the minister automatically lost his position.
Of the legislators present during the session, 126 voted against the interior minister continuing in his office. Another 90 cast their ballots in Mohammadi’s favour. A number of votes were found invalid.
Addressing the ceremony, the president said: “These two honourable individuals served the nation during the Soviet occupation and the subsequent war on terror in Afghanistan.”
A statement from Karzai’s office said the former ministers’ services, skills and expertise would be utilised in other areas. Bestowing the awards on them did not mean an end to their services to the nation, it added.