GARDEZ (Pajhwok): The residents of southeastern Paktia province say people’s trust was badly tarnished in the presidential and parliamentary elections and needs to be restored.
The matter was echoed during a meeting between Independent Election Commission officials, women rights activists and members of political parties.
Abdul Sammad Paktin, a civil society activist, said in the previous elections people were not assured their vote would be respected.
“Trust is an important element, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the government must assure the masses that this election will not be conducted like the past parliamentary polls. If people are kept unaware regarding transparency of polls, they may not show interest in participating in the polls.”
Civil society activity Noor Gul Noori said transparency, security, use of biometric devices and facilitating women to vote were important steps for elections.
He said most people wanted to participate in polls but they wanted their democratic right to be honoured.
“People are not as interested in polls as they were in the past, their trust should be restored by improving security, information to the masses regarding IEC election plan and to facilitate women to vote,” he said.
IEC head for Paktia Naqibullah Haidari said changes in top leadership of the IEC and huge reforms undertaken in the election body showed that future polls would be free and fair.
He said the number of polling stations had been increased by two fold this time in Paktia compared to polling stations in the Wolesi Jirga polls.
He added some polling stations in Laja Mangal, Janikhel, Rohani Baba and Zurmat districts were under huge security threat.
“In the past, there were administrative lapses in the central IEC office, but a positive change has been brought now and reforms implemented, which will help improve the operational and administrative capabilities of the commission,” he said.

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