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IEC Takes ‘Exceptional’ Step to Preserve Seat of Sikh Afghans in Parliament

(Last Updated On: July 5, 2018)

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Thursday said that Sikh Afghan could register themselves as candidate for the upcoming parliamentary election, resuming the drive which was ended last month.

The registration of candidates for long-delayed parliamentary and district elections begun on May 26 and ended on June 12.

Within this period the Afghan Sikh Community had registered Awtar Singh as their only candidate for parliamentary election who has been killed in suicide attack in Jalalabad City of eastern Nangarhar province.   

However, as a move to preserve the seat of Afghan Sikhs in the parliament, the IEC said that it has provided an exceptional opportunity for Afghan Sikhs and Hindus to get registered as candidate for the parliamentary election, starting from 7th to 21st of July.

“We have considered an exceptional situation for them to officially register themselves from July 7th until 21. The commission has approved the decision and interested [Sikh & Hindu] individuals could to register themselves as replacement for Awtar Singh,” said Abdul Hafiz Hashimi, a member of the election commission.

Welcoming Narredra Singh from Afghan Sikh community as possible candidate for parliamentary election, President Ghani urged the election commission to take steps forward and ensure the replacement of Awtar Singh for parliament seat.

The election watchdogs, however, criticized the IEC’s move to resume Sikh candidate registration drive.  

“Going into a nationwide and transparent election would be difficult under the current situation. Managing the time is also a major challenge for the commission as well as the disagreements between the commissioners and the interference of the government,” said Nayeem Ayoub Zada, head of TEFA.

This comes as last week, the IEC has divided Ghazni into three electoral zones and the commission is expected to take the initial steps in this regard until Saturday.

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