As the election is approaching, concerns about rigging and mass fraud are increased both from rivals of Karzai as well as right groups and media. An intellectual rival Mr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmedzai has strongly criticized the Karzai Administration for misusing authority. The other day in a press conference, Ahmadzai told he has some evidence that government officials in Laghman and Maidan-Wardak provinces are campaigning for Karzai. A couple of weeks ago Chairperson of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, Dr. Sima Samar in a joint press conference with UN Envoy Kai Eide expressed concerns over mass fraud. She said that there are women who have received registration cards but the women themselves were not present at the time of registration. She said there might be a fraud in the elections due to this fact. Though Dr. Sima Samar did not provide any specific statistics of women voter registration cards, but she exemplified that in Logar province about 72 percent of the total registered people are women, which Dr. Samar said, is really surprising. Dr. Sima Samar is right to the point. There are chances of mass fraud in the coming elections. How could it be possible that in a province hit by Taliban insurgency such as Paktia, Paktika and Khost, more than 60 percent of registered voters are women? The same had happened last year in Paktika. The entire voter registration book was filled with names of women. According to media reports, actually no women were seen at the polling stations last year, but the registration books were filled with votes from women. Why women? Because they don’t use a photograph and their cards can be easily used as fake or ghost votes. Other than that according to the terms of election by the Independent Election Commission, a candidate to be eligible for the race should provide 10,000 voter cards to the commission. The trade of votes is at good market across the country.
According to voter registration details of 2009 presidential and provincial council elections, women in five provinces have registered more than men. The statistics show in Logar with 72% women, Paktia 64% women, Khost 65% women, Nuristan 71% women (unbelievable at all) and Badghis 54% women and Paktika with 49% women. All these provinces are badly hit by Taliban insurgency. People in these provinces are with ultra-conservative socio-religious mindset. The social norms indicate less participation of women in social affairs. Girls’ schools are blown up. How could it be 72%??? Like 2005, this time the market of ghost votes on sale seems to be with high profit margin. It is indication of preparation for mass fraud on polling day. The Election Commission and the Complain Commission should have already paid attention to the comments of Dr. Sima Samar and claims of Ashraf Ghani Ahmedzai. There should have been an investigation on the huge number of women registration in the insurgency-hit provinces of South. Otherwise the election process would not bear legitimate outcome.
National state-owned media is also acting neutral. It is used in favor of a particular candidate. All contendors are not given equivalent coverage. Freedom of media is the most important factor in exposing the intentions of mass fraud on polls day. But unfortunately our Minister of Culture blames media outlets and TV channels for being financed by “foreign countries”. Mr. Karim Khurram two weeks ago on International Freedom Day had blamed media for taking directions and influence from “foreigners”.