Balkh civil society activists split over ID cards issue
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Civil society activists in northern Balkh province on Sunday asked the central government to start issuing computerized national identity cards to the people without further delay, which some activists linked to the 2014 political tension.
The civil society members held a gathering in Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital, in which they asked the government to promptly start the cards’ distribution.
But some other civil society activists, who did not participate in the gathering, said the main reason behind the delayed distribution was political impasse created in Afghanistan in 2014 following the disputed presidential election.
Activist Shamsia Azarmehr told Pajhwok Afghan News then presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah during their electioneering in the lead up to the April 5, 2014 presidential election had promised to start the distribution of electronic ID cards soon after taking charge.
She said people were concerned about the delay in distribution of ID cards and warned that the civil society would carry out protests if the government did not listen to their demand.
Nihad-i-Mardomi civil society institute head Najib Paikan said he supported the distribution of electronic ID cards. He added there would be no transparency in future elections without electronic ID cards.
However, some other civil society activists were against the distribution of ID cards in the current situation of the country.
Balkh Adabi Khwazakht civil society institute head Javed Wak acknowledged problems the people faced in the absence of electronic ID cards but said the government would not be able to implement the project in all regions of the country due to security problems.
He said having electronic ID cards was the right of every Afghan but if the cards were distributed to people living in cities only, it would create another problem.
Ghulam Ali, head of Ummul Bilad institute, said there would be no problem if the government implemented the ID cards project across the country.
He said the security situation in most areas of the northern region was not stable, making it impossible to implement the project there.
Ali added the security situation in a number of districts in Baghlan, Faryab, Sar-i-Pul and Jawzjan provinces would not allow the government to distribute ID cards there.
But Balkh provincial council head Mohammad Ibrahim Khairandish said the government should launch the ID cards project because it was unclear as to when the security situation would improve in the country.
He said the cards’ distribution would enable people in remote areas to participate in future elections.
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