Khost elders warn of election boycott

KHOST CITY (PAN): A powerful figure in southeastern Khost province on Thursday criticised the election commission for indicating that no voting centres would be set up in insecure areas during next year’s presidential and provincial council polls.
Fazal Ahmad Manawi, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) head, told reporters last week that elections might not take place in insecure areas if effective security measures were not put in place.
But Pacha Khan Zadran, a former lawmaker and politician, said there was not a single place across the country without problems. He added mostly Pashtuns lived in insecure parts and no polling in insecure areas would mean depriving Pashtuns of their right to vote.
"If the election commission fails to establish polling sites in Pashtun-dominated areas, it would be tantamount to intentionally depriving them of their rights," he said, warning of a boycott if the majority tribe was sidelined.
He urged the election commission to allow people to use old voter cards alongside new ones to ensure a satisfactory turnout. “We would boycott the election if our demands remain unaddressed.”
A tribal elder, Daud Shah Makizai, echoed Zadran’s view. Also a provincial council member, he said if polling stations were not set up in Pakhtun-inhabited areas, they would stay away from the elections.

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