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Assembly OKs census law amid uproar

Assembly OKs census law amid uproar

Jul 15, 2013 - 16:47

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Two Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon members had a physical clash and others walked out in protest as the lower house approved a draft law on population census on Monday.

Aimed at preventing issuance of forged computerised ID cards, the draft was presented by the Ministry of Justice in March. It comprises seven chapters and 39 articles. Under the law, computerised ID cards will be issued to all Afghans in three phases.

A month back, the lower house had approved some controversial articles of the law, but did not fully adopt it due to opposition from some lawmakers, who suggested Article 6 should be sent to the Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of the Constitution (ICOIC) for interpretation.

The article says tribes should be mentioned in database but not written in ID cards. However, 2nd Deputy Speaker Mohammad Saleh Saljoqi said the ICOIC had sent its interpretation of the article to the house. He quoted the ICOIC as saying mentioning tribes in ID cards had no legal problem but it lacked a constitutional cover.

As 1st Deputy Speaker Mirwais Yasini, who chaired the session, presented the draft to the house for approval, 105 MPs raised their green cards. But some lawmakers rose from their seats and started uproar.

A member from northern Takhar province, Qudratullah Zaki, asked the assembly not to approve the law. His colleague from southern Kandahar, Mullahinfo-icon Syed Mohammad Akhund, pounced at Zaki. But other lawmakers intervened and separated them.

Yasini ruled the law had been approved after 105 of the 136 MPs present raised their green cards. Around 10 MPs, who staged a walkout, insisted tribes should be mentioned in ID cards.

One of them was Naqibullah Faiq, who claimed the law had been approved despite a lack of quorum because 50 MPs had walked out in protest.

He said the law could not be enforced until tribes were mentioned in ID cards. He warned of mobilising the masses against the law’s implementation.




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