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Abdullah Warns Against Bids to Influence Polls

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KABUL -A key opposition leader on Tuesday warned President Hamid Karzai against influencing the electoral process, saying that the head of state would live a respectable life after his retirement if he stayed neutral. National Coalition of Afghanistan leader Dr. Abdullah Abdullah said that rulers of the day and political leadership could prove their worth by holding free, transparent and inclusive elections, scheduled for April 2014.

Also a senior leader of the newly-formed Grand Electoral Alliance, Abdullah said: “We don’t want the president to be worried about his future. Instead we wish him to live a life of dignity among the people after the end of his tenure.”

He recalled the example of ex-president Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani, who lived respectably as a common citizen at the end of his 10-year stay in the Presidential Palace. “We wish the present leaders a similar life,” the former foreign minister remarked.

Speaking at a meeting of the alliance in Kabul, Abdullah reminded Karzai of his duty to enforce countrywide security and make sure an inclusive presidential vote was conducted on schedule. He also stressed the need for improving conditions in insecure areas. While urging the president not to support any presidential candidate, he alleged the circles close to Karzai were trying to get the ballot postponed on the pretext of insecurity in the country.

Abdullah referred to a public meeting that called earlier in the day for delaying the elections to 2018 and a similar session at Karzai’s office some days back. Such meetings were fuelling concerns about election transparency, he argued.  About the government’s inability to improve security, the opposition leader warned: “If polls are delayed, we will be left with no alternative. I, therefore, expect the president will realise his duty of paving the ground for a free and inclusive election.”

He welcomed growing support for the alliance, saying he was optimistic about its future. However, he rejected the impression that the alliance revolved around one particular community. (PAN)

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