4,500 women voters registered in Helmand
LASHKARGAH (PAN): Due to a shortage of female staff, the election commission could register a small number of women voters ahead of next year’s polls in southern Helmand province, an official said on Thursday.
Helmand Independent Election Commission (IEC) chief, Qudratullah Quraishi, told Pajhwok Afghan News the registration campaign was yet to face any security problem, but women’s participation had been low.
Only 4,500 women are among the 80,000 people registered as voters as part of the campaign, according to the official, who said polling centres had been set up in 11 districts, including the provincial capital, Lashkargah.
The polling centres were used for distributing voter cards to men and women, but female workers were available only in Lashkargah and Greshk districts, Quraishi continued.
He linked their failure to appoint female staff to insecurity and cultural restrictions, confirming registration centres had not been established exclusively for women in districts.
The official said they had requested the education and women’s affairs departments to introduce female staff for distributing voter cards to women against high salaries, but failed to elicit any positive response.
Quraishi believed if they had succeeded in opening exclusive registration sites for females in Lashkargah and districts, they would have been able to list a large number of women.
He said for certain reasons they had not been able to execute plans aimed at facilitating women in the election process. Women’s registration in some border towns had been satisfactory, he added.
The individuals who failed to obtain voter cards in districts could approach the registration centre in Lashkargah.
A Nawa district dweller, Gulalai, said women’s rights had been trampled by not opening exclusive registration centres for them in districts.
She said the election commission should continue registering voters in Helmand by setting up special centres for women in districts.
Former provincial council member, Razia Baloch who is seeking reelection, said women had been deprived of their right one way or another.
She deplored men did not allow women to visit voter registration centres in some cases on the one hand and authorities had been unable to provide them with the required facilities on the other.
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