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“Islam” and “Afghan” in ID cards our red line: Kabul rally

“Islam” and “Afghan” in ID cards our red line: Kabul rally

Nov 08, 2017 - 18:35

KABUL (Pajhwok): Hundreds of people on Wednesday staged a protest demonstration in central capital Kabul, demanding words “Afghan” and “Islam” to be mentioned in the computerized identity cards.

The protestors included members of Afghanistan Milli Tehreek, Joint Council of the Peoples of Maidan Wardak, Shinwari tribal council, 16th district Guzar representatives council and Kabul’s Qala Zaman Khan youth council.

They started marching from Allauddin Park in the limits of the third police district of Kabul city and reached the Parliament building, covering a two-kilometer distance.

Carrying banners inscribed with various slogans and the national flag, the protestors also accused some lawmakers of working as foreign spies.

The demonstration comes days after the Wolesi Jirga or lower house of parliament rejected a presidential decree adding two words religion and ethnicity to the ID cards in the Population Registration Law.

It also comes a day after the government asked the Wolesi Jirga to reconsider the decree and approve it.

In March, 2013, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) shared a draft population registration law in seven chapters and 39 articles with the lower house, which approved the draft within a month.

However, many people around the country opposed the law and demanded addition of nationality and tribe in new computerized identity cards after the president approved the law in September 2014.

On March 2, 2016 following protests, the president approved amendment to Article sixth of the law about distribution of electronic ID cards. Based on the presidential decree, nationality and tribes would also be mentioned in identity cards.

At Thursday’s demonstration in Kabul, the angry protestors chanted “death to anti-Afghan lawmakers,” “death to anti-Islam lawmakers” and “writing words Afghan and Islam is our red line.”

Milli Tehreek leader Ismail Yun said they would allow no one to play with the nationality and religion of the Afghans. “It is Afghanistan, all who live here are Afghans, it is our nationality and no one can snatch it from us,” he said.

Another protestor, Dr. Faiz Mohammad Zalan, a teacher at the Kabul University, said the Wolesi Jirga’s decision removing Afghan and Islam from the ID cards was illegal. He said lawmakers who had voted against the presidential decree were “puppets.”

The demonstrators handed over a resolution letter to a Wolesi Jirga delegation that visited them. The resolution said no Afghan accepted the illegal and unconstitutional decision of the lower house.

The letter warns: “Writing words Afghan and Islam in ID cards is our red line and we cannot ignore our values.”

The letter also asked the parliament to make its stance known on the fencing of the Durand Line and allow no one to make irresponsible statements.

The protestors threatened to continue their demonstration if their demands were rejected and would move the judiciary against the Wolesi Jirga’s decision.

The Wolesi Jirga delegation that received the resolution letter from the protestors was headed by secretary Abdul Qadir Zazi. Other members of the panel were Aryun Yun, Nasima Niazi, Razia Sadat Mangal, Qudratullah Sahak and Haider Jan Naeem.

MP Zazi told the protestors that they too were against the Wolesi Jirga’s decision, which he said had been rejected by the Meshrano Jirga and now a joint commission of the two houses would decide on the matter.