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News Briefs

(ARR No. 129, 13-Aug-04)
By IWPR

Anger Over End of Voter Registration in Nangahar


Officials and individuals have protested the decision that halted the voter registration process in the eastern province of Nangarhar on July 31, noting the registration process in many other parts of the country could continue to register until August 15.


“If people are not registered then who will vote?” asked Sayed Ashraf, a member of the Afghan National party. “We do not want the process stopped."


Deputy Provincial Governor Dr Asif has called for the United Nations to allow registration efforts to continue.


Hedayatullah Watanyaar, director of the Nanagarhar registration process, said that voter registration had been stopped because the projected number of eligible voters has been reached.


Officials had previously acknowledged some problems with the population count in the province and had conducted new surveys in some districts.


Watanyaar said he would raise the concerns about the closure of registration centres.


"We will talk to the main office about this and will inform them about people's complaints," he said.


Residents in the districts of Khogyani, Shinwar and Acheen can still register because the process in those areas had been delayed because of security concerns.


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Republicans Endorse Karzai


The Republican Party has announced it will support Interim President Hamed Karzai in the forthcoming presidential elections.


In making the announcement at a news conference at the International Media Centre in Kabul, Sibghatullah Sanjar, the leader of the party, said the decision was based on Karzai’s support of human rights.


He said that before reaching the decision, "Our party members have assessed all the candidates for president without any discrimination.”


The Republican Party was launched on Nov. 2, 1999. Its basic objectives are to maintain good relations with neighbouring countries and the international community, to develop trade with other countries based on mutual interest, and to respect the rights of others.


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Treasures on Private Display


The owner of an antique shop in London has opened the first private museum in Afghanistan, displaying 1,700 historical relics and literary works he had bought from private overseas collectors.


Among the items being displayed by Ahmad Shah Sultani, 50, is a 1.2 meter high by 1 meter wide copy of the Holy Koran written in gold, 120 printed and hand-written copies of the Holy Koran, a book by Mawlana Jalal-ud-Din Mohammad Balkhi, an enamelling book by Kamal-ud-Din Behazad, sculptures and hundreds of coins


Sultani, who was born in Ghazni province, said he acquired the items on exhibit abroad from Afghans, Iranians and Pakistanis in Germany, London, Pakistan and Dubai.


Omara Khan Masood, the director of the National Museum, confirmed that the items being displayed by Sultani were part of a private collection and not the property of the government. He added, however, that cultural artefacts found inside the country at archaeological sites were the property of the government.


By IWPR reporters Bashir Gwakh, Younis Mehrin and Nooria Ashori.


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