MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Afghan Women’s Network (AWN) members during a meeting in northern Balkh province on Thursday called for the upcoming presidential election to be free of any fraud.
During a joint meeting with civil society activists in Mazar-i-Sharif, AWN members expressed concern over the deteriorating security situation ahead of the September 28 election.
Masuma Rahimi, AWN head for Balkh, told Pajhwok Afghan News that they discussed problems and opportunities in the election process. She said most people believed insecurity remained the huge challenge to the election.
The government and security officials should try to provide a safe environment for voters on the Election Day, she said.
“Another demand of the people is fraud-free election and not repletion of the past mistakes”, she added. Rahimi asked all Afghans particularly women to participate in the presidential election.
Wranga Safi, a civil society activist in Balkh, said that security environment was not fit for the election and the government needed to take some measures in this regard.
“If the situation is not improved, many people particularly women would be deprived of casting their vote in rural areas”, she said.
Besides insecurity, negative traditions in rural areas could also impact women’s turnout, Safi said. She said election commissions should have worked more on public awareness.
Shekiba Moahid, a women’s rights activist, said many families did not allow their women to vote for the candidate of their choice.
“Families whose leaders are affiliated with political parties, they force their women to vote for the candidate of their choice.”
She said insecurity and fraud were two major challenges for the election and women were worried about that.
The Ministry of Interior says it has prepared plan for ensuring security for 4,942 polling stations across the country and around 100,000 soldiers would be deployed for security on the election day.