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TIRINKOT (Pajhwok): In violation of the election law, some government officials were seen taking part in a Sunday election campaign gathering for President Ashraf Ghani in central Uruzgan province.
The gathering in Tirinkot, the provincial capital, was organized on Sunday and besides influential local persons, elders, common people and some government officials were in attendance.
Videos and photographs obtained by Pajhwok Afghan News show directors of several departments including telecommunication and information technology, education, Haj and Religious Affairs, Disaster Management and director of the Governor House Finance and Administrative Affairs, Human Resource Director, employees of different departments and school children are seen taking part in the election campaign rally.
A participant of the gathering, who did not wish to be named, said all technical assistance to the gathering was provided by the Governor’s House.
The source said participants of the gathering chanted slogans in support of President Ashraf Ghani and encouraged people to back him in the election.
Civil society activist Hikmatullah Hilal told Pajhwok Afghan News that most of government officials participated in election gatherings instead of attending their offices.
He said government officials and employees not only violated the law but they also forced applicants to wait in government offices for indefinite time.
The Provincial Council (PC) members also termed the presence of government officials in election gatherings as against the law and called for an end to the practice.
Mohammad Karim Karimi, deputy head of the Provincial Council, told Pajhwok Afghan News that government employees had already been stopped by the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Services Commission (IARCSC) from participation in election gatherings.
Due to their participation in election campaigns, applicants faced multiple problems while approaching government departments for their work.
Qadar Amin, Chief of Staff of the Governor Office, declined to comment on the issue and added the governor was out of the province and on return, he will address the issue seriously.
Ahmad Shah Qanoni, regional director of the Independent Election Commission, said officials’ presence in campaign rallies was violation of the election law and the Independent Election Complaint Commission should act against it.
Following acts shall be considered as electoral violations in line with article 98, clause 13 and 31:
Conduct of any campaign event in favor or against a candidate by a government employee and the use of government’s assets, facilities and resources in electoral campaigns.
The perpetrator of violations shall pay a cash fine of 10,000 to 80,000 afghanis.
In addition, article 10, clause 2 of the election law says: “Use of any governmental assets, facilities and resources in favor or against a specific candidate is prohibited. Equal
use of state-owned and public resources and facilities in favor of all candidates in accordance with the provisions of this law shall be an exception to this provision.”

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