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Don’t Meddle in Poll Process, Karzai Orders Security Forces

Don’t Meddle in Poll Process, Karzai Orders Security

KABUL – President Hamid Karzai on Friday directed security forces to ensure the protection of election offices, workers and voters to ensure next year’s polls were conducted in a transparent and inclusive fashion. In a 13-article decree regarding security organs’ role in the polls, the president ordered defence and interior ministries, as well as the National Directorate of Security (NDS), to devise an effective security strategy.

He underlined the need for securing voter registration centres, election staff, voters and ballot-counting offices across the country. He said security organs were duty-bound to take effective steps to help organise the elections in a credible way. Karzai also instructed the three security organs to cooperate with the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and depute female officials at voter registration centres and polling stations for women.

The decree asked security personnel to cling to the principle of impartiality in the electoral process by refraining from supporting any political party or candidate. Afghan soldiers, policemen and intelligence agents were further directed to respect human dignity and lawful rights of election workers, voters and candidates and observers.

They were warned against fanning ethnic, tribal, gender and sectarian biases and eschew meddling in elections. The president also tasked the forces with preventing the entry of gunmen, security guards and other irrelevant people into voter registration and ballot-counting offices. Karzai went on to ask the authorities to prevent coalitions, parties and poll contenders from holding gatherings and staging rallies if policemen were not informed in advance. (PAN)

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