Delayed ID cards against national interest: MPs
KABUL (Pajhwok): Some Wolesi Jirga or lower house members on Saturday said if the Population Registration Act had any problems, the government should come up with amendments, but should not allow anybody to disunite the Afghans.
The Population Registration Bill was approved last year by parliament and ratified by the president, but some lawmakers, civil society organisations and political parties have been calling for the word “Afghan” to be included in the biometric identity cards.
Others, however, are of the opinion that “Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” mentioned in the cards imply the holders are both Afghan and Muslim.
Shakiba Hashemi, a lawmaker from southern Kandahar province, told the Wolesi Jirga’s general session: “There is no legal problem. The population registration act has been passed and based on the Article two of the Constitution, our religion is Islam and the Article four says every citizen of this country is Afghan.”
The census law’s sixth article says: “On the right side of the ID card, the following should be written in national languages: name, family name, father’s name, grandfather’s name, date of birth, place of birth, current residence, permanent residence and religion.”
Hashemi added: “Mentioning or not mentioning the word Afghan should not be echoed. Every citizen of this country should be proud of the word Afghan and they are. A national process should not be taken hostage with orders from Pakistan.”
Addressing those protesting over the word “Afghan” in the e-IDs, she said: “Why didn’t you protest after the Shah Shaheed incident, after the rise in prices and against the mass youth migration?”
Protest demonstrations have been carried out in a number of provinces and the central capital to demand the addition of words “Afghan and Islam” in the new biometric ID cards.
The latest protests took place on Saturday when thousands of people demonstrated in northern Balkh and eastern Kunar provinces. The protestors warned they would not accept the ID cards if they did not have the two words.
But Hashemi said the census law had been passed and if the government wanted an end to the dilemma, it should send draft amendments to the parliament.
Hashemi said Afghans’ enemies did want them to have a reliable ID card, thus they created troubles. She said many issues would be resolved with the distribution of e-IDs, including the chance to have fair elections.
Mohammad Ali Akhlaqi, another MP, also insisted on the distribution of ID cards without further delay. “Disunity should not be encouraged among the people. We are all Afghans and if there is any issue or demand it should be met through legal means.”
He said the delay in the process was not in the interest of Afghans and the government should prevent those encouraging disunity among the people.
Maulvi Tarakhail Mohammadi, a Kuchi tribe representative in parliament, said: “We are all Afghans and are proud of this. The Wolesi Jirga has approved the government’s suggestion of adding the word Islam to the cards. We should not fuel tension among people in the name of Islam and Afghan.”
He said Afghans could resolve this problem and there was no need for foreigners to interfere in the national process. He asked the house administrative board to hold talks with government officials and resolve the issue. “If the distribution process does not start soon, Afghan people would lose a golden opportunity.”
Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said if the government wanted to add the word Afghan, it should send an amendment bill to the parliament.
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