Hullabaloo over Afghan Elections
Posted on October 8th, 2009

By: Mashaal Javed

Afghanistan conducted yet another election on 20th August to elect a President for itself with lots of hopes for a better future tomorrow. Despite a lot of Taliban threats to the Afghan populace not to cast their votes or else they would face severe consequences, there were a considerable number of them who turned out to exercise their voting rights. Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah were the two main contenders. For these elections the incumbent President Karzai relied on entering into alliances with unsavoury warlords and to some extent his Pashtun vote bank to carve out his victory in the elections. Abdullah Abdullah relied on the support of northern alliance, winning over some of the Pashtun votes though at a belated stage of his election campaign and on the tacit support of the network of Indian intelligence agency ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”RAWƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. Besides all this, he played up to the accusations of pre-vote rigging by the Karzai administration citing duplicate votersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ registrations and insecurity. The rhetoric of his repeated election fraud assertions during election rallies that he would certainly win the presidency if KarzaiƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Administration does not steel his votes had somewhat eroded the credibility of the elections even before the elections actually took place.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ As the election results continue to pour in, the karzai camp remains optimistically convinced of its leaders election victory. There are efforts afoot by his main opponent with concurrent intervention of other foreign agencies in the affairs of Afghanistan who do not want to see Karzai re-elected, through repeated aspersions on the credibility of the elections, London being the leading doubter. Abdullah Abdullah while talking to Reuters has said that he is in constant touch with the Western Officials about the elections and AfghanistanƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s political situation but in no mood to reconcile with the results and enter into negotiations with Karzai to end the political turmoil by joining the government. The UN appointed head of the Electoral Campaigns Commission, Mr. Grant Kippen of Canada, who has the power to veto the election results, told Reuters that 2516 polling stations have been subjected to recount of votes polled therein. The announcement means that the process of recounting of votes polled in these stations may further erode the credibility factor with potential of a prolonged state of uncertainty over the election results for weeks and even months. The staggering figure of 54.3% of votes won over by Karzai so far, is simply too big a lead to indicate that there may not have been any significant vote fraud that could alter the results much and call for a re-election or re-run that many detractors of Karzai government want. Too much has been invested in these elections by the United Nations and the US itself and efforts for conducting re-elections or re-run would put enormous financial burden on them.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The simple reason that comes to fore in deliberate discrediting the elections is to prolong the agony of Afghan populace. Though the act itself would not make any difference to lives of Afghan people yet, it does tantamount to not respecting their choice through their vote ballots. The election results, in favour of either of the candidates, will not end the endemic corruption in the Afghan corridors of power. The election results will not provide any sort of stable national government outside the Afghan capital. The pro-democratic governments had been trying hard to establish a sustainable democracy in Afghanistan albeit the history cites it as an undoable act. Establishment of democracy is a wonderful concept, but then it has to be supported by ideals such as the establishment of rule of the law, freedom of speech and a free press, a functioning bureaucracy and a viable financial system, universal suffrage, education etc. In Afghanistan none of these traits of democracy are found in the fabric of Afghan polity. If the objectives of foreign powers occupying Afghanistan are to help stabilize the country, establish a true democracy, train an Afghan Army and to prevent violence and eradicate the scourge of drug trade any time soon, then they are destined for a much longer haul in Afghanistan. Meanwhile Abdullah Abdullah, the other candidate, has called for an interim government therein Afghanistan if the election results are not declared before the coming winters.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The doubts created to discredit the Afghan elections have already started affecting the Afghan polity. Although preliminary results show Karzai securing the requisite percentage of vote, the continued upheaval created by the vested interests within and outside Afghanistan would only add to discredit the western backed efforts to bring stability in Afghanistan after an eight year war. Besides, the delay in finally declaring the winner of the election results is only benefiting Taliban and Al-Qaida networks. These two networks believe that the Americans and its allies will retreat and eventually leave Afghanistan in chaos and their Afghan collaborators will evaporate like the Soviet sponsored puppet Governments of the past. Given that the American CIA created Taliban, Afghanistan is the only play ground wherein they can maintain and even increase their avenues to further their strategic influence.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Over all despite its infinite problems, the recently held Afghan elections have become a monument of hope for Afghanistan. Those Afghans who defied Taliban threats and came out to exercise their right to vote in these elections deserve a thorough respect. It is the responsibility of all to support these elections and accept the winner, whosoever, he may be. The war torn Afghanistan needs peace, a patient effort for reconciliation with out indulgence of foreign powers. Let us give Afghans a chance to negotiate, talk to each other to take Afghanistan forward. Those elements who continue to discredit the Afghan elections in a bid to a re-elections or a run-off are certainly not doing any service to the Afghans but to manipulate and place a man of their own choosing as the president.

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