Elders want fraud-tainted officials fired

ASADABAD (Pajhwok): Tribal elders and religious scholars in eastern Kunar province on Sunday asked the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to sack its employees accused of fraud in the first round of presidential elections.
They were of the view that IEC workers had been involved in most instances of electoral fraud in the April 5 elections and such staffers should be fired to avoid a possible repetition of irregularities on June 14.
One tribal elder Saleh Momand told Pajhwok Afghan News sacking of fraud-tainted IEC officials was crucial to preventing possible anomalies in the runoff election. “No one can commit fraud if the IEC wants so,” he believed.
Religious leader Maulvi Farmanullah said fraud in elections was a crime from Islamic perspective and should be prevented.
“Our demand is that those involved in electoral fraud be exposed so that it becomes known why they did so and get the punishment they deserve,” he said.
A resident of Narang district, Mohammad Nasir, said all IEC officials who had committed fraud in the previous elections should be arrested and should not be allowed to perform duty in the second round of elections.
A resident of Asadabad, the provincial capital, Zabihullah Sabiq, said regional IEC workers accused of fraud should be referred to the prosecution’s office.
IEC chief in Kunar Mohammad Zahir Akbari said their staffers proven guilty in the wake of complaints against them had been fired.
He did not provide figures for those fired, but said they had been blacklisted and could not perform duty in the runoff election.
“Eighty percent of officials, who performed duty at polling centres where problems had been recorded, will be replaced. These officials had been assigned duty on the election day only.”
Governor Shujaul Mulk Jalala told Pajhwok Afghan News they had completed all preparations for the presidential runoff in Kunar.
He said they had devised a national plan under which tribal elders and religious scholars would create awareness about the elections and would oversee the process as well.
The governor said polling stations which had been shut on April 5 would stay open in the runoff. In the first round, 91 polling centres were open in Kunar and officials say the number will be increased to 94 in the runoff.
About 114,000 people had cast votes in Kunar in the first round elections and the turnout is expected to increase in the second round.

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