Supporters of Assadullah Sharifi, a disqualified parliamentary candidate, on Tuesday blocked a key highway linking Afghanistan’s capital Kabul to the northern Balkh province in protest against the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) to disqualify Sharifi.
Sharifi described the move by the IECC as a political move and warned that he would continue civil protest action unless he is reinstated as a candidate.
For motorists using the highway however, the blockade was an unwelcome move.
“We want to go to Samangan, our family lives there, but now the road is blocked; we don’t know what to do; look at how hot the weather is and the children have no water to drink,” said Sunita, one motorist.
“All (motorists and) passengers are stranded here in the sun, what is the importance of this,” said Bismillah, a passenger.
The blockade affected hundreds of motorists and passengers but Sharifi called for justice in his case.
“If you are really a president and a just and honest president, if you really don’t have a political issue, I want to open my case, I announce from this tribune that if found guilty, if I am proved to be a traitor, if I am proved to be a criminal, I will tender my resignation and will go to jail,” said Sharifi.
Sharifi’s nomination was reversed following reports that he had links with illegal armed men, a claim Sharifi has rejected.
This comes a day after dozens of supporters of six disqualified candidates launched protest action outside the head office of the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) in Kabul to protest the decision against them.
In doing so, the protestors, who set up tents in the immediate area, effectively prevented IEC employees from going to work. The offices remained close on Tuesday.
But a few hours after the protest was launched, the IEC issued a declaration on the disqualification of some candidates and said that the forced closure by protestors of the commission’s office was not acceptable.
“Forced closure by protesters of the commission's offices was not acceptable and that in doing this, unnecessary delays can be experienced,” said IEC chief Abdul Badi Sayyad.
According to the IEC, 2,561 candidates are on the final list – which was scheduled to be announced on Monday.
Disqualified candidates, some of whom were also there, said that they were not given the opportunity to lodge an appeal against the decision by the Independent Electoral Commission (IECC).
A few days ago the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) removed the names of 35 candidates from the list over allegations of them having links with illegal armed groups.
The Independent Electoral Complaints Commission removed 35 names from their final list of parliamentary election candidates on Saturday.
IECC defends disqualification decision
Meanwhile, officials from the IECC have said that the commission’s verdict on the disqualified candidates will not change.
Based on the law, the IECC has the authority to investigate and disqualify candidates, said IECC officials.
“The removal of names of candidates from the final list for parliamentary elections, which was decided by the independent electoral commission, naturally was carried out in line with the framework of the law and the regulations and the authorities of the electoral complaints commission. Some of them had already been dropped from the list by the special commission, but the decision of the special commission was not final, some of the people who were dropped by the special commission were reinstated on the list,” said Ali Reza Rouhani, IECC spokesman.
“We want rule of law to prevail in this country,” said Mullah Tarakhail, a disqualified candidate.
According to a copy of a document obtained by TOLOnews, the following names have been removed:
• Mohibullah, Ahmad Shah Shams, Amanullah Hotaki from Uruzgan;
• Abdul Rahman Shaheedani from Bamiyan;
• Fawzia Kofi, Maryam Kofi, Mohammad Nabi Bayan and Abdul Samad Abdul Hameed from Badakhshan;
• Assadullah Sharifi from Balkh;
• Sayed Jafar Naderi, Assadullah Islamzoi and Hayatullah Wafa from Baghlan;
• Ghulam Haidar Jailani and Noor Ahmad Sikandar from Parwan;
• Allah Mir and Nawid Ibrahimkhail from Paktia;
• Bashir Qanet and Assadullah Ayub from Takhar;
• Liyaqatullah Babakarkhail and Jabar Jabarkhail from Khost;
• Masooma Khawari, Mohammad Asif Azimi and Raees Khairullah from Samangan;
• Sakhi Nawid from Faryab;
• Qais Hassan, Mawlawi Tarakhail, Sayed Daud Naderi, Sedaqat Zahid, Ziaulhaq Amarkhail, Ehsanullah Atif, Shir Ali Ahmadzai and Zardad Faryadi from Kabul;
• Shayista Baz Naseri from Kunduz;
• Akbar Stanekzai from Logar;
• Jawed Zaman from Nangarhar.