KABUL (Pajhwok): Hundreds of people on Sunday took to the streets in eastern province of Nangarhar to protest the omission of the words Afghan and Islam from new electronic national identity cards.
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 the mention of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was enough to prove the holder’s nationality and religion.
The protestors at the Mastofiat Square in Jalalabad and marched on different roads, chanting slogans against the issuance of ID cards in their present shape. The rally ended at the Pashtunistan Square.
“Down with foreign agents” and “We want the words Afghan and Islam mentioned in the ID cards” were some of the slogans chanted by the angry marchers, who warned of continued protests.
“We support the government and the present system, but we would never accept ID cards that don’t show our identity. We should not be sacrificed to please others,” remarked a member of the provincial council and one of the organisors of the rally.
Zabihullah Zmaray told Pajhwok Afghan News they would not let anybody issue such e-ID cards. He asked the authorities to correct the important document.
Another participant of the demonstration and tribal elder from the Behsud district of Nangarhar, Walayat Khan, urged the government to pay attention to the issue, otherwise there would be bloodshed in a country that had always defended its identity and religion.
“We will set afire the Census Department in Nangarhar if our demand for inclusion of the two boxes is not fulfilled,” threatened the deputy head of the provincial council, Dr. Nasir Kamawal. They would continue their protest until the ID cards were revised, he said.
Dr. Armit Singh said: “The Hindu and Sikh community of Nangarhar wants the words Afghan and Islam included in the ID cards, because we are all Afghans.” He vowed not to receive ID cards without these words.
In the dying moments of the rally, civil society activist Dr. Asadullah read out resolution, asking President Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah to include the words Afghan and Islam in the ID cards.
If the correction in ID cards were not carried out, they would prevent the distribution process because the agents of foreigners undermined the identity of Afghans, the resolution alleged.