Afghan Women Determined To Vote In Elections

Tuesday April, 01, 2014
Kabul (BNA) The Afghan women have expressed their firm determination to vote in the presidential elections and mark the destiny of their country with their own hands.
The women believe that their extended participation in the elections may further strengthen the credibility and legitimacy of the elections and it will also support the restoration of long-standing peace and security in the country.
A number of Kabul residents waited hours to register to vote in Saturday's election, but the wait did not hinder the spirits of those in line because they say voting in this year's election is a way of fighting against fundamentalists.
For the past few days people have been waiting in line long before registration centers open at 8 a.m. and stay till the centers close for the day. The presence of people at registration centers is opposite of what was expected to happen after recent attacks on the IEC office. Instead there is a strong outcome of residents committing to vote despite the insecurities and threats. "These suicide bombings and explosions are by the enemies of Afghanistan and registering to vote is a strong step against them," Arzo Hashemi, resident of Kabul, said.
"I am here to get my voting card and I am not afraid of anyone," Zahra, resident of Kabul, said. People of all ages were waiting in line to register to vote.
Tela Begum and Seema are two elderly female residents of Kabul who waited in the long line for hours to register to vote this Saturday, despite the long wait, the two were determined to get their voting cards. “these days there are many explosions and attacks happening in various corners of the country, it is the work of the enemies of Islam, despite that we have decided to receive voting cards and cast votes in the elections and beat a strong punch on the face of the enemies by voting,” a university student Roya said. “We have come to the voter registration centers to take card and select our next president,” Kabul resident Shafiq said.
Residents have asked the IEC to increase the number of registration centers to avoid long waiting time. Currently there are 41 registration centers that will be open three days prior to Saturday's election for people to register. Meanwhile, a number of women rights activists have said that participation of women in the elections will ensure the protection of the achievements which the Afghan women so far have gained over the last twelve years since establishment of the new political system in the country.  “participation of women in the elections is an important factor that could preserve the achievements of women in the country which they have gained over the last twelve years, during the election campaigns women proved that they were not a silent voice and they have grown as compare to the past,” Nadir Naderi, head of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan said.
Women in Afghanistan initially received vote right in 1342 Hijjri during the kingdom of Mohammad Zahir which also followed some criticism from the religious scholars. In addition, chairman of the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC) Ahmad Yousaf Nuristani last week said that special places have considered for women to vote in the elections and women will able to commute to the polling centers with confidence and cast their votes in the elections. In two months election campaigns, the presidential candidates pledged to include protection of women rights and their achievements among their top working priorities.

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