By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – In a rare united call, leading political parties in Afghanistan on Saturday urged the government to roll back the ongoing voter registration process amid reports of rampant irregularities and violent protests in the north of the country.
In the capital Kabul, leaders of the Hezb-e-Islami led by the former Mujahedeen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Jamiat-e-Islami led by the interim Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, Wahdat-e-Islami led by the government’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mohammad Mohaqiq, Junbish-e-Islami led by Vice President Abdul Rasheed Dostum, and representatives of former President Hamid Karzai gathered for consultation on this October’s elections.
A declaration issued after the meeting charged the Afghan government and the Independent Election Commission (IEC) with wasting millions of dollars and precious time on a “faulty” voter registration drive. They urged the use of all available options to push for their demands for drastic changes, such as incorporating biometric technology, in the electoral process.
This comes as Dostum's supporters have closed down IEC offices in four northern provinces of the country while protesting the arrest of a local militia commander, Nezamuddin Qaisari, charged with misuse of power, intimidation and human rights violations.
The already delayed and overdue district and parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held this October. According to the IEC, the voter registration drive is going ahead swiftly with transparency, with close to 9 million Afghans already registered with a week left to go.