Relying on democratic processes in Afghan society is of critical importance, said panellists at a UNAMA-backed TV roundtable in Jalalabad, the provincial capital of eastern Nangarhar province.
“Democracy is significant in both Islamic as well as in democratic regimes, as democratic governments reflect the interests of all people, including minorities,” said panellist Mangal Shirzad, a lecturer at Nangarhar University.
Mr. Shirzad, one of a five-member panel consisting of representatives from civil society, advocacy groups and academia, encouraged Afghans to recognize the importance of elections and to take an active part in politics.
The discussion was broadcast as a 40 minute programme on Jalalabad-based Sharq TV and Radio to an estimated audience of 500,000 people.
Also speaking at the event was Muqadasa Ahmadzai, an elected member of the Youth Parliament. She said it is important to implement democratic rules and conduct elections, even in the face of instability.
“A key indicator of a good election is equal participation of all segments of society, including women,” said Mrs. Ahmadzai. “During the last elections, many women courageously participated and I hope they will demonstrate similar enthusiasm about participating in future political and social activities.”
Ejaz Malekzai, head of the eastern regional office of the Election and Transparency Watch Organization in Afghanistan, also spoke at the event and pointed to the vital need for transparency and legitimacy in elections.
Nangarhar province, which shares a porous border with Pakistan, has a strong agricultural base and hosts a significant trade route linking Afghanistan and Pakistan.