Armed men interfering in Ghor elections’ affairs
Salman Sharifi regional IEC chief said its entire staff was ready to discharge their duty efficiently in the April 5 elections but interference by illegal gunmen was really a matter of concern for the elections body.
Addressing a meeting arranged by civil society organizations, Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC) and representatives of IEC, Sharifi said as many as 31 of 240 polling stations were inactive in Baghlan province.
He said 18 of the polling centres were closed due to high security threats, asking security forces to bolster law and order throughout the province.
The number of 50 insecure polling stations has been reduced to 31 after Afghan forces ensured security for 19 polling stations, he said.
IHRC director, Jawad Rizai also expressed concerns regarding the presence of illegal armed men and asked security forces to control the situation. “Vote is the right of every eligible citizen, and we support their rights,” Rizai added.
He asked IEC to launch public awareness programmes among people about the importance of elections and deploy professional individuals in the IEC.
Ghor residents also complained about the presence of armed men in their areas. Mohammad Nabi, a resident of Shahrak district, said he was issued voter card but he was worried about the presence of armed men who forced locals to vote in favour of the formers’ candidates.
He demanded the government to adopt stringent measures to stop the armed men creating problems for public.
But provincial police chief, Dilawar Shah Dilawar, assured security forces were fully prepared to ensure strict law and order during the ballots.
He said security forces would be deployed in insecure areas and no one would be allowed to disrupt the elections process.
Khudayar Waqif, a civil society activist, said: “We want the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FFEFA) to send their workers to oversee the election affairs.”
He asked campaigners and presidential and provincial runners to follow election rules and contest the elections in a democratic manner.
Saad Malook, presidential runner Gul Agha Sherzai’s campaign team’s member, said some gunmen were forcefully collecting voter cards and sell them to campaigners.
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