Call to print Braille ballot papers for the blind
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (PAN): A representative of people with disabilities in the High Peace Council (HPC) on Thursday asked the government to print ballot papers in Braille to help the blind exercise their franchise right in next year’s elections.
Syed Mohammad Yazdan Parast made the call at a gathering arranged by the Afghanistan Human Rights Commission regional office in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province.
Yazdan Parast said the April 5 presidential and provincial council elections would not be fair, saying special ballot papers for visually impaired people had not been printed as yet.
He rejected the Independent Election Commission (IEC)’s idea that blind people should cast their votes with others assistance. He said ballot papers for blind people should be printed in Braille.
He accused the IEC of committing negligence in its duty toward assisting people with disabilities in the election process.
Bibi Zainab, another disabled person, told the gathering she had used her vote in the previous elections, but still unaware if it went to the right candidate. She recalled her brother polled her vote on her behalf in the previous elections.
Syed Mohammad Samai, the AIHRC regional office head, said he was supportive of the call made by the disabled, asking the IEC to print ballot papers for the blind in Braille.
Balkh IEC chief Ezatullah Arman, calling the demand as genuine, acknowledged the electoral body had not yet prepared ballot papers for blind people.
However, he said election officials would assist blind people on the voting day and would guide them in casting their votes in favour of their preferred candidates.
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