A bundle of ID cards, which are blank except for ID photographs, have clearly been stamped despite the forms being incomplete.
Blank ID Cards ‘Authorized’ In Paktia
Amid a spate of accusations by politicians and political figures of voter registration fraud, TOLOnews has received footage that appears to question the issue of ID cards in Paktia province and whether many are “fake”.
The undated footage was reportedly taken at a mobile ID card distribution center in Paktia. The center answers to the Afghanistan Central Civil Registration Authority (ACCRA), and the footage was believed to have been taken at the center when it was in Chamkani district in Paktia.
In the footage, which shows a bundle of blank ID cards, it is clear that no names or details of the applicants have been filled in but ID photos, of unknown people, attached to the documents, have been stamped.
The footage also shows that the bundle of questionable documents had photographs of both men and women.
Local residents have meanwhile raised concerns and said people, who do not live in the district, are also getting ID cards from the mobile unit.
“The governor said in writing that people in the district must get ID cards, but here is the problem, these people getting ID cards are not residents of the district,” said one resident, Enatyatullah.
Another resident, Sayed Ahmad, said: “The central government must take serious action and not let people interfere in the election commission and ID card distribution. Specific candidates and local officials are involved and interfere in the process.”
Meanwhile, electoral observers have warned that such actions will result in a crisis. They also said Paktia officials must be held accountable for this development.
“As you know the registration process has already ended so why is there a problem with ID cards? It seems that that a number of candidates collected stickers in advance in order to paste them on ID cards and local administrators are interfering,” said Ehsanullah Hamidi, the regional director in Paktia of Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA).
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) meanwhile said they were not responsible for the distribution of ID cards.
“Pakita IEC office has problems but this issue is related to the Afghanistan Central Civil Registration Authority and we are not responsible,” said Shir Ali, the IEC’s regional public relations officer in Paktia.
However, the provincial governor’s spokesman Abdullah Hasrat rejected the allegations.
“Some people are trying to undermine Pakita’s real population, and political share. We have seen the ID cards and the serial numbers on these ID cards do not match Paktia’s ACCRA office’s records,” said Hasrat.
Election observers have meanwhile called for a full investigation into the issue.
This comes after the IEC last week said it planned to send a delegation to Paktia to investigate reports of IEC employees having broken election laws.
Documents seen by TOLOnews indicated that records from voter registration centers in the province had been transferred illegally to the provincial head office.
Based on the procedures of the IEC, and the election law, the transfer of election material from one voter registration center to another is prohibited.
The documents seen by TOLOnews also revealed that one person had signed in the place of several others.
When asked for comment, the IEC acknowledged that the transfer of records from one office to another was against the law. They said the commission would investigate the report.
Officials from FEFA also accused the Paktia local government of interfering in the electoral process last week.
“Sensitive materials had been supplied in Mirzaka district, but were seized forcibly and other officials also meddled (in the process), therefore, the local government should come out in support of the people,” said FEFA member Ehsanullah Hamidi.
Paktia governor’s spokesman Abdullah Hasrat meanwhile rejected claims of interference in IEC affairs, saying that no one will be allowed to interfere in the commission’s activities.