PUL-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): Residents of two districts of northern Baghlan province on Saturday asked the election commission not to invalidate their votes in the Wolesi Jirga elections.
Hundreds of people coming all the way from Khost and Baghlan-i-Markazi districts to Pul-i-Alam, the provincial capital, also met with the provincial governor and other officials.
One of the elders, Abdul Hakim Noorzai, said all votes cast in Baghlan province should be counted as valid.
“We offered 13 martyrs, we cast the vote at the cost of our head, so our votes should not be cancelled under any pretext,” Noorzai said and warned insecurity would increase in Baghlan if votes of its people were invalidated.
Another protestor, Javed Walizada, said “We have come here to defend our votes and to meet the governor and other local officials and tell them that our votes should not be cancelled.”
Walizada claimed the provincial IEC had been unable to fully manage the vote count process and its officials possibly declared fake votes as valid at gun-point.
At the end of the meeting, Baghlan governor Abdul Hai Nimati said the election commission was responsible to give the people answers as per the law.
However, IEC chief for Baghlan Abdul Qahir Wahab Safi said the vote count was underway as per the election law and regulations.
He assured that votes from no polling station would be deliberately invalidated and there would be no wrongdoing in the vote count process.
He said people could closely monitor the vote count process and if the process was not acceptable to them, they could complain.
Previously a number of Wolesi Jirga candidates had demanded the IEC recount all votes cast in Baghlan province at the IEC headquarters in Kabul.

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