March 27 - Pakistani printing presses rush to fill campaign poster orders by Afghan presidential candidates. Masako Iijima reports
The printing presses in Peshawar's Mohalla Jangi have been operating at full tilt lately, churning out campaign posters for Afghan presidential hopefuls. The restive Pakistani town is near the border with Afghanistan. And everyday, campaign staff come across the border with orders for colorful posters, leaflets and buttons of their candidates. (SOUNDBITE)(Pashto) ELECTION STAFF, AZIZUR REHMAN, SAYING: "Over there, it is difficult to get printing material, which is a big problem. Also, prices are higher there. For example, if a job is done here for five rupees, it costs ten rupees there. The printing machines here are better, whereas the machines there are quite useless. There are also problems of skilled workers and electricity," Printing press owners say, although they have received contracts from candidates ahead of the April 5 polls, the orders are not as big as they used to be in previous elections. (SOUNDBITE) (Pastho) PRINTING PRESS OWNER MUKAMMIL SHAH "This time there are much less orders than last time. Perhaps their government has imposed some sanctions. Whatever the reason, this time business from there is much less," Elections which will be the country's first ever democratic transfer of rule and comes at a turbulent time for Afghanistan. Foreign troops are leaving and the Taliban are capitalising on the instability. This will be a key issue for the new president to tackle when he comes into office.