Badakhshan activists, tribal elders and former jihadi commanders have started their own awareness campaign to encourage residents to take part in the voter registration process and elections.
The campaigners are traveling to villages across the province to explain the process and to assure the people that they will not face threats if they register and vote in the upcoming parliamentary and district council elections.
“We have been in contact with all local offices and have asked them to call for the help of imams in mosques and tribal elders to encourage people to participate. People have the right to vote and select their chosen candidate and representative,” said Nazir Mohammad Niazi, a former jihadi commander in Badakhshan.
Badakhshan activists said people have many reasons for not registering and voting in the planned elections, but said they should not challenge a democratic process.
“Widespread fraud in past elections affected the people’s confidence in the process but the people should know that elections will be held once again in which talented, trustworthy and eligible individuals will be elected,” Basir Haqjo, an activist, said.
“I believe that there are three reasons which stop people from voting. One of them is insecurity,” said Abdul Alim Khadam, a resident of Badakhshan.
The provincial office of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said turnout at voter registration centers in Badakhshan has increased in recent days.
“The IEC has started an awareness campaign through the media across the country. We are in contact with Badakhshan local representatives, tribal elders and activists and they have vowed to support the process. People’s interest is increasing in the process,” said Hamidullah Baloch, head of the IEC office in Badakhshan.
According to the IEC office in the province, about 500 people have registered at 20 centers in Badakhshan in the last five days.