Officials violating poll law be suspended or fired: IEC
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Saturday took a strong notice of government officials attending campaign rallies of presidential candidates, saying such officials should either be suspended or fired as President Hamid Karzai had warned.
President Karzai has warned government officials and foreigners against interference in presidential and provincial elections. He had warned violators of removal from jobs.
The IEC said participating in election gatherings of candidates by government officials was in violation of the electoral law and the presidential decree.
The IEC’s reaction comes amid reports provincial governors, Cabinet ministers and other high government officials have been seen attending campaign rallies of presidential candidates.
IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said officials attending campaign rallies should be dealt with in accordance with the law.
He said President Karzai had warned government officials of removal from jobs and suspension in case they were found guilty of having interfered in the election process.
Noor said they had obtained evidence and documents showing government officials were attending campaign rallies of presidential candidates.
He said the evidence was being taken to the Presidential Palace and it would be recomended that such officials be suspended or removed from jobs.
“Once we complete compiling evidence and documents, they will be shared with the media and the president, who has promised action against those breaching Afghanistan’s laws,” Noor said.
His remarks come a day after IEC Secretary Ziaul Haq Amarkhel said they were investigating into law violations by government officials and the findings would be presented before the president in written form.
Many officials, including Paktia Governor Juma Khan Hamard, have been seen attending campaign rallies. Hamdard, who is member of Hezb-i-Islami party, announced his support for presidential candidate Zalmai Rassoul at a gathering held few days back.
The gathering was attended by High Peace Council member Qazi Amin Waqad, Education Minister Dr. Ghulam Farooq Wardak, presidential advisor Wahidullah Sabawoon and other high-ranking government officials.
Except Wardak, the remaining officials continue to attend rallies held in support of Zalmai Rassoul, a former foreign minister.
Other officials, who attend election rallies, include Labour and Social Affairs Ministry official Shahidullah Sapi, Nangarhar Education Department official Mian Ibrahim and others.
Economy Minister Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal is among high-ranking government officials seen attending and addressing campaign rallies for presidential candidate Dr. Abdullah Abdullah.
The Arghandiwal faction of Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan has announced it support to Abdullah, who finished second behind Karzai in the 2009 election.
Anisa Imrani, who is the director of Nangarhar Women’s Affairs Department, was seen addressing a gathering held in support of presidential contender Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.
High-ranking border police commanders and customs officials in Nangarhar had attended a rally in support of another presidential runner Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf.
Two days ago, tribal elders in southeastern Paktia province urged the election commission to initiate legal action against government officials attending election rallies.
On Saturday, a gathering involving election workers and local residents in Paktia accused Governor Juma Khan Hamdard of using government resources in favour of Rassoul.
But the election commission officials say they have not yet obtained any evidence showing government machinery is used in favour of a particular candidate.
The IEC spokesman, Noor, called on voters and election workers to cooperate with the electoral body in its efforts to ensure the April elections are held in a transperant and impartial manner.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.