All Khost, Paktika polling stations to stay open
KHOST CITY/SHARAN (Pajhwok): All polling stations across southeastern Khost and Paktika provinces would remain open on Election Day, April 5, the gubernatorial spokesman and officials of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said on Thursday.
Residents could exercise their voting right without any fear at the 186 polling sites set up in the province, Mubarez Mohammad Zadran told Pajhwok Afghan News.
He said security of 20 polling stations that were previously under threat had been enforced in the wake of a string of operations. A comprehensive security plan had been devised for Election Day, he added.
Search operations are underway in the provincial capital and districts to ward off possible militant threats, according to Zadran, who said that many suspects planning to disrupt the polls had been held with weapons in recent days.
Similarly, the Khost police chief said they would employ all available resources to ensure the important democratic exercise passed off peacefully and transparently.
Col. Faizullah Ghairat insisted police were better prepared to protect polling site and voters.
Meanwhile, Independent Election Commission official Sahibuddin said the requisite materials had been dispatched to most of polling stations in Khost.
He praised security forces cooperation in sending the materials to far-flung areas. As of Wednesday, up to 90,000 Khostis, including 26 percent women, had received voter cards, said the official.
For the 18-seat provincial council, 62 people are in the run. The elections will be held on Saturday.
IEC Director Zabihullah said security officials had assured of foolproof security and he had decided to keep all the 266 centres opened on Saturday.
Elections material had been transferred to areas where polling stations had been established, he said, adding the items had been airlifted to remote districts.
Maj. Gen. Nabi Jan Mullahkhel, the provincial police chief, told Pajhwok Afghan News security forces had stepped up efforts to reduce the number polling stations under threat.
People should take active part in the democratic exercise without fear on Saturday and vote in the larger interest of the country, he urged.
But some activists of civil society organisations considered Paktika an insecure province, where some districts were under insurgent control.
Mohammadullah Himatyar, a civil society activist, said elections in Khushamand and Warma districts would be impossible if proper security measures were not taken in the remote areas.
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