GARDEZ (Pajhwok): Sitting lawmakers, who are seeking reelection to the Wolesi Jirga, have been using government resources and authority in the ongoing electoral campaign, rival candidates in southeastern Paktia province complain.
The candidates say are they not provided level-playing field, which is possible only when the sitting lawmakers  are relieved of their power.
They said it was against rules that sitting lawmakers seeking reelection continued to use government resources.
Jumma Gul Afghan, a Wolesi Jirga candidate from Paktia, told Pajhwok Afghan News that most of the people were not happy with the performance of current lawmakers and they did not want them to be reelected.
“It is unfair that the current lawmakers still enjoy government resources, salaries and power, they should be relieved of these facilities,” he said.
Mohammad Hanif Ahamdzai, another candidate, said taking away power from the current Wolesi Jirga members was important for transparency in elections. “There are two types of candidates, one type have access to government resources and the others do not have them.”
Sharifa Zarmati, another candidate, said some civil and military officials supported some of the sitting lawmakers in their reelection.
“Some district chiefs, police chiefs and intelligence officers work in support of specific candidates, they are tasked to do so, it is a matter of concern for other candidates,” she said.
Haji Ayub Totahkel, another candidate, said lawmakers should not be allowed to use government resources in their election campaigns.
“I think it is government’s fault, these lawmakers are granted police, ranger pick-ups and Humvees for campaigns, the membership of current lawmakers should be suspended until the result of the elections are announces,” he said.
However, the lawmakers seeking reelection rejected these claims. Ibrahim Ghashtali, a lawmaker from Paktia province, said the current members of Wolesi Jirga did not use government resources in their campaigns.
Paktia Independent Election Commission (IEC) deputy head, Najmuddin Osmani, said no candidate had the right to use government resources in their campaigns.
“We have received only information about this issue, but we have not received any formal complaint, if anyone provides us evidence-based complaints, we would act,” he said.
Paktia governor, Shamim Khan Katawazi, told Pajhwok that he had ordered government officials in the province they could not work in favor or against any candidates in duty time. He said the government provided security equally for all candidates.
Eyed by 80 candidates, Paktia has five seats in the lower house of Parliament.


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