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Senate stresses immediate launch of e-ID cards issuance

Senate stresses immediate launch of e-ID cards issuance

Jan 02, 2018 - 20:46

KABUL (Pajhwok): A number of Meshrano Jirga members on Tuesday asked the government to immediate launch the electronic national identity cards (e-NIC) issuance process, saying its postponement was not in the country’s interest.

Lawmakers had earlier said News the e-NIC cards distributing process was scheduled to begin on Tuesday (Jan 2) and the first computerized ID cards would be given to the president and the CEO. However, the process has been delayed.

Senator Jumadin Giyanwal from southeastern Paktia province, told today’s session the postponement in issuance of the electoral ID cards wasn’t in favor of the Afghans and it should not be delayed.

“We ask the government to initiate the distribution as soon as possible and don’t let some mentally sick people to disrupt the process, Giyanwal said, but named no one.

A number of other legislators also held similar views, criticizing the suspension of the process.

Meshrano Jirga chairman Fazal Hadi Muslimyar said the e-ID cards were scheduled to be issued today and it was questionable why the process did not begin. He asked government leaders to pave the ground for issuance of computerized ID cards at the earliest possible.

Muslimyar, in response to a senator’s remarks that the president had no time to initiate the process, said: “It takes no time at all. Only 20 minutes of the president’s time is needed. We call upon the president not to make pretexts such as lack of time for initiating the process. If there is a problem, he should share it with the nation and public representatives.”

Calls by Pajhwok seek comment from the Presidential Office, the CEO office and the Population Registration Department went unanswered.

This comes as on Sunday the Meshrano Jirga said the process of issuing electronic national identity cards (eNIC) would start in the next two days. However, it didn’t happen as expected.

Following the establishment of the unity government, President Ashraf Ghani approved the law on population registration, in which nationality and ethnicity was not mentioned. 

As protests against not mentioning the two words in the ID cards continued, the president issued a legislative decree adding nationality and ethnicity to the cards. The decree then was rejected by the Wolesi Jirga but was approved by the Senate. 

To resolve the disagreement, a joint committee comprising members of Wolesi Jirga and the Meshrano Jirga was formed to decide on the issue. The committee two weeks ago approved the inclusion of nationality and ethnicity in the new e-NIC. 

On Saturday, however, a number of MPs again said they were against the inclusion of the nationality and ethnicity in the e-NICs.

They said four members of the joint committee had been absent when the decision was made and that it contravened Article 100 of the Constitution.