Residents rally against ballot paper shortage
KABUL (Pajhwok): The residents of Sarobi district of Kabul on Saturday rallied against the shortage of ballot papers in yesterday’s runoff elections, demanding action against the officials who had deprived them of their voting right.
One of protesters, Majnoon Mukhlis, said ballot papers finished on the day of the runoff polls in the district at noon. They shared the issue with media outlets and urged Independent Election Commission (IEC) to dispatch additional ballot papers.
He claimed IEC could not translate into action its pledges of transferring the ballot papers to Sarobi, robbing 27,000 voters of their right. “We were determined to vote by tolerating trouble. I don’t know why we were deprived of our right.”
Kabul police chief, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Zahir, said IEC Secretary Ziaul Haq Amarkhel was irresponsibility taking sensitive election material in vehicles to some parts without coordination with police.
The vehicles were captured by police and returned to IEC. But Amarkhel dismissed the allegations as unsubstantiated. He said the electoral materials were being transferred to Sarobi and the 12th police district of Kabul.
The protesters, who gathered at Rais Bon locality, adopted a resolution, condemning the move aimed at deprived them of additional ballot papers.
Majnoon Mukhlis, reading out the resolution, demanded the officials who created hurdles to sending the ballot papers, should be punished under the law and referred to the judiciary.
The demonstration had no political motive but the protesters demanded their legitimate right, he said, threatening to continue the protest if their demand was not addressed.
Interior Minister Mohammad Umar Daudzai assured the issue would be investigated by an independent commission and those responsible referred to the judiciary.
He said there was a misunderstanding between Independent Election Commission (IEC) Secretary Ziaul Haq Amarkhel and the Kabul police chief.
The Independent Electoral Complaint Commission (IECC) said no complaint had been received in this connection. It added action would be taken under the electoral law if a complaint was submitted.
IEC spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor told journalists that officials of the IEC and interior ministry had knowledge of the stopping of the electoral material by police.
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