Biometric technology to be used in Afghan election

In this file photo, an Afghan election official empties a ballot box to count the numbers of ballots on the first day of the counting process inside the United Nations compound at Herat airport, Sept. 20, 2005. (AFP)
Updated 23 September 2018

Biometric technology to be used in Afghan election

KABUL: As part of a move to minimize fraud, and meeting a key demand of the opposition alliance, Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Saturday said it will use biometric technology during next month’s parliamentary election.
The move comes days after the closure of several IEC offices in major cities by loyalists of the Grand National Coalition of Afghanistan (GNCA), which raised further skepticism about the government’s ability to hold the long-delayed election amid a rise in militant attacks and ethnic tensions.
The parliamentary election will be followed by a presidential one in April in which President Ashraf Ghani will stand. 
Past foreign-funded elections convened since the Taliban’s ouster in 2001 were mired by allegations of fraud.
The GNCA, which includes former and current key officials in Ghani’s government, said the use of biometric technology blocks voters from voting multiple times.
Hafizullah Hashimi, a commissioner at the IEC, said the government has bought biometric technology from a German firm.
The equipment will arrive in early October, and will be placed in 21,000 sites ahead of voting day, he added.
“It’s easy to use and to train people,” he told Arab News. “It can work offline or online, and can pass data directly to the IEC data center.”
Mohammad Nateqi, a senior member of the GNCA, told Arab News that the biometric system “brings transparency,” adding: “This is a good thing and we welcome it.”
The GNCA hopes to have a trilateral meeting with the government and the firm that will put in place the biometric technology, he said.
Habibullah Shinwari, a senior member of the Election and Transparency Watch Organization of Afghanistan (ETWA), expressed doubt that the government and the IEC will be able to put the equipment in place in time for the election.
“Logically and technically it isn’t possible. This is only aimed at calming down the opposition to reopen the (IEC) offices it closed,” he told Arab News.

Pakistani Twitter rejoices as archrival India beats Australia in cricket win for the ages

Updated 53 min 55 sec ago

Pakistani Twitter rejoices as archrival India beats Australia in cricket win for the ages

  • Pakistan and India are political foes and have one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world
  • Tuesday’s win by India was unequivocally cheered by Pakistani cricket fans who called it “one of the greatest test match wins of all time”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani social media users rejoiced on Tuesday as India bagged an incredible three-wicket win in the fourth test decider against Australia.

India’s Rishabh Pant timed his innings to perfection, ramping up the aggression in a stellar 89 as India stormed to a record 328-run chase at the Gabba and became the first team to beat the hosts at the Brisbane stronghold since the West Indies in 1988.

Pakistan and India are political archrivals and fierce opponents in the cricket field. But Tuesday’s win was unequivocally cheered by Pakistani cricket fans on Twitter, who called it one of “the greatest test series and test match wins of all time.”

“From 36 all out in the same series to winning it on Australia soil. Wow,” former cricketer and fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar wrote.

“Investing in your players, giving them financial security, protecting them, giving them exposure, having A team tours is eventually bound to pay off. Well done India,” said cricket manager Rehan ulHaq.

“India basically pulled off one of the greatest test series and test match wins of all time,” said Uzair Younus, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “To win Down Under [Australia] is an achievement on its own. But to do it when several first-team players are out injured is a whole new level of achievement. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.”

“Given results, their injuries, and lack thereof of the home side, this Indian team is probably the greatest from South Asia to tour Australia,” said Umair Javed, an assistant professor at LUMS, Pakistan’s most prestigious private university.

“Cricket is the winner (and Australia the loser),” Javed said in another tweet.

“What a fight back by Indian cricket team in the series, they’ve played quality cricket. From 36-all out in first test to 2-1 up. Commendable. Love and respect from Pakistan,” Twitter user Taliha said, posting one of thousands of tweets praising the Indian team’s performance.

“Tremendous cricket by Indians,” Haider Rasool wrote. “Love from Pakistan.”

One Indian Twitter user posted: “Thank you Pakistan. Today’s win is ever more special because of support from neighbor.”

Strained relations between the two nations, who were one country before the partition of British India split them into India and Pakistan in 1947, and a decades-long dispute over the Himalayan valley of Kashmir conflict, has laid the foundations of one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world.

Pakistan and Indian have not played a bilateral Test series since 2008 when already brittle ties were shattered by the Mumbai terror attacks.