Protests over controversial e-ID cards continue
MAZAR-I-SHARIF/ASADABAD (Pajhwok): Like some other provinces, residents of northern Balkh and eastern Kunar provinces also staged rallies on Saturday to push for adding the word “Afghan” to the biometric national identity cards.
In Balkh, thousands of people coming from various parts of Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital, gathered at the Firdousdsi Square on the Kabul-Balkh highway. The protestors included Pashtun, Uzbek, Hazara, Sadat and other tribesmen.
The protestors numbering around 3,000 marched toward the Provincial Council Office, chanting different slogans like “word Afghan applicable to all.” They also chanted slogans in support of national unity and waved national flags.
One of the rally organisers, Gul Rahman Hamdard, told Pajhwok Afghan News that some foreign circles and domestic elements were creating differences among Afghan tribes through the national ID cards.
Calling as essential the inclusion of words “Afghan and Islam” in the new electronic ID cards, Hamdard insisted the two words should be written in the cards. He also said besides “Afghan,” all tribes should be mentioned.
Balkh provincial council member Shujauddin Shuja appealed to the government and the masses to put the issue to an end. He also supported the inclusion of word “Afghan” and mentioning other tribes as well in the ID cards.
At the end, the rally participants issued a five-article resolution, in which they urged the government to break its silence over the issue of the new ID cards.
They asked the government to mention besides words “Afghan and Islam,” other tribes like Tajik, Uzbek, Aimaq, Sadat, Turkmen, Hazara, Nuristani, Pashai, Pashtun, and others.
The resolution letter said the country’s Constitution should be approached for resolving the issue of ID cards and that like the national anthem, the mention of all tribes in the cards would result into increased national unity and cooperation.
The resolution’s last article warned the government of launching massive protests if it failed to resolve the issue at the earliest.
Elsewhere, thousands of people in eastern Kunar province took to the streets, calling for the addition of words “Afghan and Islam” in the new ID cards.
Led by members of the provincial council, the protest gathering was attended by tribal elders, religious scholars, youth and civil society activists.
The demonstration began at 8am in the morning and continued until 11am. One of the organizers, Senator Rafiullah Haideri, told Pajhwok Afghan News the people of Kunar wanted the government to enforce the Article Second and Fourth of the Constitution across the country.
“We, the people of Kunar, will not accept ID cards without words Afghan and Islam mentioned in them,” he said. He also warned of continuing their protest if the government did not consider their demand.
Religious scholar Maulvi Farmanullah said the Afghans had been rendering sacrifices over the past three decades in the name of Afghan and Islam and they were ready for more sacrifices.
He said if the government did not mention the two words in the ID cards, the masses would stand up against it.
At the end, Provincial Council deputy head Jamaluddin Seyar, read out the resolution letter, which said the people of Kunar had decided not to accept the new ID cards without the two words.
Similar protests have been carried out in the central capital Kabul and a number of provinces.
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