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MAIMANA (Pajhwok): A number of women in northwestern Faryab province say insecurity impeded their participation in the voter registration process and nomination for Wolesi Jirgaand district council elections.
The provincial branch of the Independent Election Commission says about 200,000 voters – 90,000 of them women – have been registered across Faryab. Ahead of the previous presidential election, 500,000 voters – 40 percent of them women -- had been documented as voters.
In Faryab, 19 women, including three sitting members of the lower house, are in the run for the Wolesi Jirga polls.
Nazifa, a government servant, told Pajhwok Afghan News most families were worried about insecurity and, therefore, did not allow their relatives to attach stickers to their identity cards.
“My family did not allow me to have my ID card stickered. They said if I travel somewhere, the Taliban will ask me to show my tazkira and I may be in trouble,” she remarked.
Iia Safa, a student of law and political science at the Faryab University who has got her ID card stickered, called participation in the poll her ambition. The deteriorating security situation was a major challenge to women’s role in the elections, she agreed.
Inadequate security could deprive women of exercising their right to vote, Safa feared, asking the runners to steer the country out of the crisis and restore parliament’s credibility without being influenced by sectarian, linguistic or ethnic considerations.
According to Safa, future public representatives in the Wolesi Jirga should comply with the law of the land and respect people’s mandate.
Halima, 50, a resident of the 1st police district of Maimana, said: “A couple of months ago, some people motivated me to obtain my ID card and get it stickered because candidates gave 5,000 afghanis for each sticker.”
She added a public representative gave her 2,000 afghanis after her card was stickered. The runner promised giving her the remained 3,000 afghanis after she casts her vote. “We are poor people and did this for money. I will be pleased to vote.”
But female candidates for Wolesi Jirga demand people votes in favor of well-educated and young candidates to block the entry of powerful and wealthy individuals because they damaged the national interests.
Amina Mukhlis, a young from in Kunduz, viewed security threats, collapse of several districts, closure of highways, extortion by powerful individual and fraud endeavours as big obstacles to the election process.
She agreed the issues also hindered women’s participation in the electoral process. The number of female voters and candidates for Wolesi Jirga and district council elections would have been double in case of adequate security, she believed.
Director of Women’s Affairs Sharifa Azimi also called security threats, strongmen and illegal activities major challenges to women’s political and social activities. Despite all hurdles, she claimed, Faryab’s women had a strong presence in various fields.
Haji Abdul Rahman Farid, head of provincial IEC office, admitted the election process was facing security threats and a large number of people had failed to participate in the registration process. About 200,000 voters – 40 percent of them women -- have been registered. The number may increase.


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