Overseas Afghans may not vote in 2014 polls
KABUL (PAN): The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Thursday indicated it would be unable to facilitate overseas Afghans to cast votes in the upcoming elections if required financial resources were not made available to it within 21 days.
The electoral body said due to lack of time, it would be problematic to make arrangements for Afghans living abroad to take part in the April 5 polls, but not impossible if the required funds were released soon.
IEC Secretary Ziaul Haq Amarkhel told Pajhwok Afghan News they had provided the government and the international community with a preliminary plan for how to enable overseas Afghans to vote, but there had been no response yet.
Amarkhel said it would require $50 million to grant Afghans living in Pakistan and Iran their right to vote in the presidential and provincial council elections.
He said the IEC had to distribute voter cards to eligible Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran and had to complete the technical process in this regard. Granting the expatriates their right to vote is a time-consuming job.
“Funds are not the only issue. There are many things to do. We have to register eligible voters and have to pave the ground for refugees taking part in the polls through establishing diplomatic contacts, voters’ security, transfer of logistics, overseeing the process, etc.”
He said if the commission was not provided with the needed funds, the refugees in Iran and Pakistan would be deprived of their right to vote in the April 2014 elections.
Nearly five million refugees reportedly live in Pakistan and Iran. Amarkhel said if the IEC was provided with financial resources, it would only facilitate Afghans in the two neighbouring countries to participate in the elections.
Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) Chief Executive Jandad Spinghar said overseas Afghans should be facilitated to take part in the elections if the Afghan government had resources.
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