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GARDEZ (Pajhwok): The Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) has invalidated thousands of votes in southeastern Paktia province and has referred four Wolesi Jirgacandidates to the Attorney General Office (AGO) over fraud allegations.
Addressing reporters here, Hidayatullah Esmati, IECC head for Paktia, said they had registered in total 507 complaints and 90 complaints were regarding election violations and 170 complaints were rejected for lacking legal criteria.
He said most of the registered complaints were about rigging in Zazai Aryoub, Mirzaka and Laja Mangal districts.
He said in Zazai Aryoub district all votes cast at Khair Meni, Ganakhel, Ahmadkhel, Sarwankhel, Sour Gul and Mahmadullah schools’ polling stations, Ali Sangai and Petlawo (medical clinics) polling stations, Zarokhel and Reokyano madrasa polling stations, Sangar mosque and Hassan Alkada polling stations had been invalidated.
“After inspection and recount, most the votes cast in Zazai Aryoub were invalidated due to meddling of powerful individuals and stuffing of ballot boxes at night,” he said.
The Zazi Aryoub district chief and police chief were referred to the AGO while a provincial council member and the transport department cash fined, he added.
According to Esmati, in Laja Mangal district, 7,726 votes polled at all four polling stations had been invalidated and the district and police chiefs referred to the AGO.
He said four Wolesi Jirga candidates --- Faridullah Zazai, Hafeezullah Mubarez, Nawab Mangal, Shaista Jan Ahadi --- and logistics in-charge of the 203rd Thunder Military Corps have been referred to the AGO over use of force and stuffing of ballot boxes during night.
“In Chamkani district, the disappearance case of ten election books has been referred to the AGO for investigation. The Chamkani police chief is also referred to the prosecutor,” he said.
In addition, the IECC invalidated votes of a polling station in Syed Hassan School in Gardez, a polling station in Rohani Baba district, 667 votes of Matrokh polling station in Dand-i-Patan district and 123 votes at two polling stations in Mirzaka district. These votes had been cast without biometric verification.
Esmati said polling stations for Kochi voters in Paktia were not enough and the Independent Election Commission had been directed to open more polling stations for Kochi voters in the province next time.
The accused Wolesi Jirga members could appeal against allegations leveled against them in the next 48 hours in Kabul or Paktia.

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