Skip to comments.Afghan presidential runoff results delayed by fraud allegations
Posted on 07/01/2014 5:07:52 PM PDT by mgist
Afghan presidential runoff results delayed by fraud allegations Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah at his residence in Kabul on Tuesday. He has alleged massive voting fraud in the final round of the election. Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah escapes bomb attack Carol J. Williams
Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission announced Tuesday that results of the presidential runoff election will be delayed by at least several days as votes from nearly 2,000 polling places are reviewed in response to allegations of massive fraud. Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, who was the clear front-runner with 45% of the vote in the initial eight-man contest in April, has accused the commission, his opponent and current President Hamid Karzai of complicity in ballot-box stuffing. Election commissioner Sharifa Zurmati told reporters in Kabul, the capital, that the runoff results, which have already been logged in the commission database, would be released no sooner than Saturday to allow time to review ballots from the regions where major fraud was alleged. Abdullah's opponent in the June 14 runoff, former World Bank official Ashraf Ghani, has denied the accusations that his campaign was party to voting fraud and called for the preliminary results to be announced Wednesday as scheduled. After Zurmati said the vote counts would be delayed, though, Ghani spokesman Abbas Noyan said the campaign had no objections. "It's good for the transparency of the ......
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The Pashtuns are the ones with the dancing boys. Can you imagine having to defent that?
Child’s play. Come down to Mississippi if you really want to see corrupt voting.
“I will only add that the whole filthy, stinking cesspool that we call the Middle East is not worth a scratch on a U.S. Marine. Leave them to their buggery and their Korans. And keep them, and all the other adherents of that sinister cult, out of our country . That there are entire nations in the world that are so depraved as to tolerate such conduct is no surprise. Our great-grandparents knew the score. Thats why they didnt want large numbers of them coming here. Sadly, after years of heavy-handed indoctrination from every conceivable medium, we have been lulled into a dream world where we actually came to believe thatwhat was it W used to say?the desire for freedom is written in every human heart. Right .
On the one hand we have a party that, if you turn your back on them for ten minutes, will turn the country into Cuba Norte. The other one tells you to get a patriotic lump in your throat because they are sending your son to have his leg blown off so a nation of Mohammedan sodomites can have free and fair elections.
Seems Afghan’s are learning early how politics works in Chicago..
Seems Afghan’s are learning early how politics works in Chicago..
Eight flamboyantly dressed eunuchs danced and gyrated to Pashto music as the men cheered and hooted.
A few days before I visited Frontier Region (FR) Bannu, where the last of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwas derelict roads meet the tribal areas of North Waziristan, and the endless blue sky and abundant fields dramatically transform into a dull beige panorama, a girls arms were broken for dancing at a wedding.
A grainy cellphone video of that dance, shot by a guest at the wedding, made its way through dozens of phones and computers to her brother and father. By the next day, seven people had been killed, including men from the host family. The video maker (fortunately for her) remained unidentified. Unlike a very similar case in Kohistan, this one, taking place in the village of Dawood Shah Gala Khel, stayed below the medias radar. A few days later, there I was in the same village, a fifteen minute drive from Miranshah, ready to attend a wedding with a camera and handycam in my hands.
Getting there had been an experience in itself. To me, the best part about driving from Lahore to K-P (or North Waziristan in this case) is the loud Pashto music blaring from the speakers and reverberating through the body of the car. Raees Bacha sounds good, Nazia Iqbal sounds even better.
Its not just the scenery that changes as you get closer to the tribal areas. Speeding vans stuffed with passengers with burqa-clad women stuffed further inside and men hanging from the iron grilles become a common sight. When they race past you, the wind carries scattered notes of Pashto music to your ears. They hang in the air for a moment and then are lost; until the next van whizzes by.
Our lunchtime stop, along the banks of Lake Chashma, was quite edifying. There are a string of fried fish restaurants here and the one we stopped at just so happened to be run by Asif, a former personal cook for none other than General Ziaul Haq and Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan.
As we devoured the fish, he told us that Dr AQ Khan still stops to eat here every time he is in the area, and by the time we were on our third helping, I had no problem in believing this claim. With our bellies now full of fish, we embarked on the last leg of our journey.
The cell phone video incident had left a tangible air of insecurity and distrust around the village. Every woman entering the wedding house was carefully frisked and cell phones with cameras were confiscated by an intimidating woman, to be returned only when the guests left.
No one wants more videos or broken bones or their sons and brothers killed. This is a matter of honour for us now and we have to be very careful, said the woman frisking the guests as I stood beside her, sticking name labels on the confiscated cell phones.
Being a part of the grooms family, I was allowed to hold onto my camera, so long as I only took photos of the women of my family alone. Even then, indignant comments and intimidating remarks followed me as I carefully clicked away. Not far away, hundreds of cell phone cameras clicked and flashed as pictures were taken and movies made as the men enjoyed the bachelors party at the baithak (mens drawing room). There, eight flamboyantly dressed eunuchs danced and gyrated to Pashto music as the men cheered and hooted.
We stayed at a relatives house in the same village. The window in the room was covered with a cardboard sheet that I removed minutes after I settled in. The room now filled with fresh air, and saw its first rays of sunlight in what must have been years. Houses in Bannu dont typically have first storeys, and if they do, the windows are permanently covered with thick fabric or cardboard sheets nailed to the wall, negating the very purpose of windows. The few first storey houses are normally surrounded by unusually high walls with bricks removed from a couple of safe places by the women to allow for short peek-a-boos at the roads or neighbouring houses. I tried to peek from one such opening while visiting some distant relatives, but my eyes could only see the sky at a 180-degree angle due to the depth of the wall and what the women called lack of practice. Besides the Khost Road, the newly unblocked window also gave me a clear view of Baitullah Mehsuds ancestral home a few metres away. A humble single storey mud house, it is now home to Mehsuds cousins and their families.
Before I introduced myself as a journalist, the women welcomed me graciously into the house. However, they apologetically refused to interact after my professional introduction, saying they were ordinary people and did not want to say anything that could land them in the news.
We have nothing to do with militancy or militants, the woman who had earlier welcomed me into the house said. As I saw the men running around busy making arrangements at the venue, the young boys appeared especially ecstatic. While the women and the girls will dance to drum beats at the night of the mehndi ceremony at the house, the men and the boys will enjoy a show of a different kind. Arrangements were completed hours before the show was scheduled to begin. There was a music system, gargantuan speakers, disco lights, power generators and armed men to guard the entrance of the baithak. By the time the eunuchs appeared, the crowd had swelled to some three thousand men and the hooting and clapping could be heard all the way in the zenana, giving the women a hint that the show had begun. Of course, I needed more than just the soundtrack and so I found a convenient window, turned out the lights and wrapped myself in a black dupatta. Now in full stealth mode, I got a somewhat hampered view of the forbidden mens section. Then my aunt showed up and hustled me on to the roof where we got a birds-eye view. This was part of a trade-off between my aunt and her husband, who was only given permission to attend the dance if she was able to spy on him!
The party in the baithak continued till 3am, not decreasing even a decibel in its intensity. The venue sparkled with camera flashes from iPhones, Galaxies and HTCs alike. The eight eunuchs were hired to dance for Rs3,000, but they went home with Rs150,000 that night, thanks to all the money they were showered with. Notes of 20s and 50s were most common, but there were 100s and 1000s, too. For every note of more than Rs50, the dancers collector would return the difference while keeping 20 percent with him, so for every Rs1,000 showered at the dancers, the thrower was returned Rs800.
The collector a petite and slender man in his fifties was actually more agile and skilled than the dancers themselves. While they stomped and threw their limbs about, he sidestepped and hopped, bending low to grab the notes fluttering all around him. Some he grabbed while in flight, but others had to be plucked from the damp ground. Practice makes perfect, and with these dancers in such demand (there is hardly a night when they are not booked for a performance) he gets a lot of practice.
The June 2012 killing of the Pashto music sensation, Ghazala Javed, shook the entertainment industry of the province. People, especially those living close to the tribal area, now think twice before arranging musical functions that include dancers. In 2009, a famous Pashto singer, Shabnam, was dragged out of her house by militants in Swat and executed publicly. It was then that Ghazala Javeds family fled the area and settled in Peshawar, not knowing that death awaited her in the dark, narrow streets of Peshawars Dabgari Garden.
The morning after the dance performances, some of the familys boys found a hand grenade on the road behind the baithak. Fortunately, whoever had thrown it had done a sloppy job and it failed to detonate. The ring was broken, but the pin was still wedged inside the bomb. I got a chance to hold it in my hands and a close relative, who clearly knew his explosives, defused it.
Sidra, who is in her 20s, was the most prominent dancer that night. Dressed in fancy orange clothes, she danced barefoot on the uneven ground that was damp from dew. Even from the distance, my eyes were drawn to her arms, where she had made an attempt to cover what looked like burn marks with foundation and base creams. It didnt work.
A discussion with her later revealed that some men in the village would regularly break into the house in which she and her fellow dancers lived. They would beat them and take away all their earning. She said they didnt dare retaliate since they could not afford being thrown out of the village. The marks were souvenirs from these repeated visits. You know what our problem is? We do not save money. We spend whatever we earn on ourselves and those we are in a relationship with. We spend on them because we need men to protect us.
As we sat in the lawn of her house two days later, Sidra and her colleagues generosity was on full display. A cake from a famous bakery in Bannu lay uncut on the charpoy. Halwa, cut into neat cubes, was decoratively placed in a circular pattern on a glass plate along with some sweets and dry fruit. Milk tea and green tea were both served. Sidra was leaving for Peshawar that day, where she was invited to dance at a wedding. Her boyfriend waited outside ready to drop her at the bus stop, carrying a blanket he had bought especially for her just a few hours back. He did not want her to use someone elses blanket or stay without one in the chilling cold, and would not relent until she took it from him. The way they dealt with each other proved that love transcends all boundaries, whether those of caste, religion or gender.
That night we ourselves drove to Miranshah to bring the bride to her new home. Some 30 cars and vans stuffed with the grooms immediate and extended family stopped in front of the brides house, but only three women went in. After around 10 minutes, they appeared with the bride. Before we knew it, we were back at the grooms house being welcomed by volleys of aerial firing by the grooms brothers, cousins and friends. Apart from handguns, there were G3s and AK-47s on display as well. Inside a room, an elderly mullah waited for the couple to perform the nikah. Unlike in other parts of the country, the nikah ceremony here is conducted in the grooms house. The bride, accompanied by at least one elderly woman of her family, is given three options to choose from among her witnesses. Out of these three, who are all from the grooms brothers or cousins, she then selects one to become her nikah brother as they call it. The nikah brother then swears to take the brides side for the rest of his life if an argument ever occurs between the couple. From here on, he will be responsible for the brides protection at her new home and will ensure that her husband treats her well.
The nikah was performed, and then ensued enough aerial firing to drown a drone. When the house finally emptied out, I saw some children picking up bullet shells that they would later use to play with.
On the way back, some locals decided to accompany us to Lahore, where they had some business. This wasnt surprising as Pashtuns will never miss an opportunity to travel in groups. Even though we took the same route as before, we seemed to encounter far more police pickets this time. Later we realised that this was because of our travelling companions Toyota Corolla, noticing that until we crossed the border into Punjab, every Corolla whether new or old would get the full checking treatment from the cops
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