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ED: Prospects of voter registration

Voter registration for the looming parliamentary vote has begun across the war-torn country amid increasing security fears. The long-delayed process to register 14 million adults in 7,000 polling centers is exponentially contingent on security in a country where militants control vast swathes of territory. It is an explicitly puzzling endeavor which demands extensive on-demand logistic readiness and more pressingly constant security beef-up – especially in rural areas where belligerents hold sway.

If surpassed security threats and finally held, elections will be highly likely bedeviled with a pyramid of iniquities. The fact that insecurity is barely the only hassle in the face of elections cannot be downplayed either. Meddling of warlords and more drastically and lack of national identification cards or Tazkeras could mar voter registration and overshadow the ballot in the offing. Just over half the population has Tazkera and the government hopes to issue another 10 million to enable more people to register to vote – which per se complicated the situation even further.

In the erstwhile elections, several delinquencies and shortcomings had tarnished its comprehensiveness and all-inclusivity. Thousands of jubilant voters had not been able to register and in several provinces and returned crestfallen without the chance of exercising their franchise, because security threats were high and people couldn’t wager their lives for voting. Anxiety grew more acute as insecurity pierced elections and voters in several districts afield couldn’t vote. Another fiasco was a massive-scale vote-rigging, the bulk of which was perpetrated by the election body. Most of the election commission leadership and personnel were tainted with fraud.

Cynicism about possibilities of fraud and meddling in the looming elections is uptrend. This time around, all hurdles should be evaded and the government must initiate to restrain certain elements from interfering in the electoral process. Interference of warlords and vote-rigging by election staff should also be forestalled so that neither nobody is coerced to vote against their will nor votes get manipulated.  Measures to suppress fears about a legitimate and transparent outcome should be undertaken.

Too little time is left with too much to be accomplished. The Taliban and their unruly soldiers of terror defy democratic government and egalitarianism and will wage their ‘wicked war on elections’ indeed. Security apparatus should stage an unwavering security beef-up countrywide in order to buffer the extremist Taliban’s campaign, allowing the commoners to vote yet again. Security should be tightened to a level where no loophole will turn into an opportunity for militants to exploit. Moreover, people are resolute to resist dictations of terrorists and turn out in polling centers even in far-flung and Taliban-controlled areas. But their protection is of immense significance and indispensability. People should be protected, so that their momentum is ensured.

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