Officials justify high voter turnout in Khost

KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): Officials on Friday poured scorn on presidential candidate Dr. Abdullah’s claim of a higher turnout than the total number of registered voters in southeastern Khost province.
A survey under the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) of the Rural Development Ministry put Khost’s population at more than 1300,000, the governor’s spokesman explained.
Mubarez Mohammad Zadran told Pajhwok Afghan News there were 700,000 eligible voters in the province, where over 400,000 ballot papers had been dispatched by electoral commission.
An Independent Election Commission (IEC) source in Khost, meanwhile, confirmed receiving more than 430,000 ballot papers from the head office. As a result, the papers were exhausted before the closing time.
Residents also rejected doubts about the voter turnout. A Khost dweller, Baryalai, said religious scholars and tribal elders had urged the people of remote areas to participate widely in the runoff election.
Yousaf Mangal, a civil society activist, said they had also played a key role in encouraging the masses through public awareness programmes into exercising their franchise. Additionally, the media also motivated them to cast votes.
Mujahideen Unity Council head Maulvi Mohammad Sardar Zadran commended the contribution of former jihadi leaders to efforts for making the election a success. They informed the people that polls were the best democratic way of Afghanistan’s reconstruction.
The proactive participation by nomadic Kuchis also contributed to the high voter turnout in Khost. A Kuchi leader, Ramazan, said a number of his tribesmen had returned from Pakistan to take part in the election.

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