Civil society role in elections debated
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (PAN): A debate on “Youth and Elections” was held in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, on Thursday, with participants discussing civil society’s role in the April presidential and provincial council polls.
The debate was organised by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), an international media development body, at the NAI office.
Independent Election Commission officials, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) representatives, Balkh University teachers, students, civil society activists and youth took part in the event.
Marya Rahin, one of the organisers, told Pajhwok Afghan News the debate was aimed at creating awareness about the upcoming elections. She said all aspects of civil society’s role in the process was discussed.
AIHRC official Fauzia Nawabi said civil society groups in Balkh were yet to assemble at a single platform in order to effectively play their role in creating public awareness about the elections.
She said civil society played the role of a bridge between the people and the government and could play an effective role in creating awareness about the elections.
IEC official Ajmal Ahadi said public support was crucial to making the elections a success, a job which could be done by civil society.
“Civil society should convince the masses they should participate in the elections in the larger national interest by setting aside their personal interests.”
Ahadi said civil society should play an active role in monitoring the election process and should expose and prevent elements posing possible threat to the ballot.
“The IEC office in Balkh is yet to make exclusive efforts required for increasing cooperation with the civil society,” he acknowledged, but said they were able to get involved civil society activists in gatherings aimed at creating awareness and convincing people to take part in the elections.
Rahin said the participation of youth in the debate showed such events were useful in creating awareness about the landmark elections.
She hoped the debate would have positive outcome because the participants would share with others what they discussed at the event.
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