Sprayed with water cannons, hundreds protest against e-ID cards
KABUL (Pajhwok): Hundreds of people on Saturday took to the streets in Kabul to protest the omission of the words “Afghan and Islam” from new electronic national identity cards.
Afghan National Movement head Mohammad Ismail Yon, Afghan Millat Party chief Anwarul Haq Ahadi, Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) chief Abdul Sattar Saadat and Kabul University teacher Faiz Mohammad Zaland took part in the rally.
The participants stressed the inclusion of the two boxes in the e-ID cards and chanted slogans, “Death to Iran, death to Pakistan, death to Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah, death to the interior minister, long live national unity”. They saw no reason for the omissions.
Anwarulhaq Ahadi said mentioning Afghan and Islam words in the electronic ID cards was important.
Calling the national unity government a deal-based arrangement, Ahadi told the protestors: “The incumbent rulers would not give you your right until you mount pressure on it.”
He criticised the Presidential Palace for widening its distance from the people and said, “I am ready for every sacrifice to defend our nationality. The government would not do anything until we bring pressure on it, so get united and bring pressure on the illegal government.” He said the people did not value officials who did not respect their nationality.
A civil society activist Faiz Mohammad Zalan also stressed on the addition of Islam and Afghan words in e-ID cards and said, “We will continue our civil movement until the government adds these two words to the ID cards, these two words are our pride.”
He said the president was not loyal to his pledges and the people would revolt against the government if the situation continued.
The protestors in their resolution letter asked the president and other senior government officials not to oppose the national identity and stop violating the law. They said no one would be allowed to play politics on national interests or make secret decisions against national values.
They also asked the government to stop distributing demo versions of e-ID cards until differences over the issue were resolved. They warned of launching a national movement if the government continued ignoring their demands.
The rally started in front of the Eidgah Mosque in the morning when police sprayed the protestors with water cannon to disperse them. But undeterred, the protestors continued their march to the Pashtunistan Square.
After the Parliament approved the Census Law last year, some lawmakers, civil society activists and political parties protested for the inclusion of the two words in new ID cards.
But some people agreed with the parliamentary decision that word Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was enough to prove the holder’s nationality and religion.
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