Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, February 18th, 2018

Let’s Try To Build One Nation

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Let’s Try To Build One Nation

Parliament of Afghanistan for the first time approved Electronic identity card four years ago in May 2013; but the then president Mr. Hamid Karzai refrained to sign it. The card contained particulars like official name of the state (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan), name of the holder, father’s name, date and place of birth. According to this decision of parliament ethnicity and nationality of the holder were not mentioned on the card; though they were to be inserted in database in the ministry of interior.
But according to latest decision of the parliament and president on the issue, the word ‘Afghan’ as national identity and as well ethnicity of the holder should be written on the card. Despite changes about the contents of the card, differences and disagreements on the issue continue.
Four years have passed; but this very significant national program has not been implemented yet and rather it has faced a deadlock. Despite its importance for the government, good-governance, people and administrative works, it seems that one of the greatest aspirations of people is not going to be fulfilled and one of the most important and strategic programs of the government is not implemented at least in near future.
Word ‘Afghan’ as nationality and as well as ethnicity of holder are the main sources of contention; some politicians especially in lower house of parliament have launched hue and cry on the issue. The controversy is tightening day by day.People are concerned that disagreements on the contents of the electronic identity card may divide people further and drive the political situation of the country to crisis and chaos.
Postponement of the program by government also shows that national unity government leaders and other concerned men have reached deadlock on the matter. Chief executive of the government Mr. Abdullah has said that government is working on the legal aspects of the program and the issuance of the card will not begin unless all parties agreed and reached a consensus.
Vice president Mr. Sarwar Danish but accused some ‘radical racists’ of taking EIC issue as hostage and advised that the problem should be solved in accordance with provisions of the constitution. Constitution of the country declared –Afghan- as national identity for all who live in Afghanistan. (Article 4) but the opponents argue that word ‘Afghan’ means ‘Pashtun’ which is used for a particular ethnicity of the country and it is imposed on other ethnicities in Afghanistan.
While tensions continue on word ‘Afghan’ as nationality, many other ethnicities of the country like Sadat, Aimaq, Qarlooq, Khalili, Bayat and others have raised their voices and asking for recognition and registration of their ethnicities in national database and in national electronic identity card. They have had several gatherings in the capital recently and warned not to take the card unless their ethnicities are recognized and written on EIC or Tazkera. Tensions and controversies are increasingly rising and the situation is getting more complex, differences are widening and deepening.
A national program which is expected to unite people, modernize the country, help good-governance, facilitate several other important national projects and programs like general census and election, unfortunately has now turned to bone of contention and source of disunity.
With implementing this national program –issuance of electronic identity card- Afghanistan for the first time will own a national database that could specify papulation and provide comprehensive information for government’s socio-economic programs.
It eases prosecuting criminals and fighting terror suspects. Given the facts in our society, the best way to the end current tensions of ‘nationality’ and ‘ethnicity’ in the electronic identity card is to accept the first decision of the parliament on the issue. In May 2013, the  parliament approved the card without mentioning nationality and ethnicity of the holder. It was the best decision; because as most of other national identity cards in the world, it contained just name, father’s name, date and place of birth and some other personal particulars of the holder; except nationality and ethnicity.
To build one nation the walls that races and ethnicities have built among people of Afghanistan, should be erased. It doesn’t mean their ethnical identities should be merged and dissolved; they can maintain that; but for greater interest and common fate, people have to be ready for some sacrifices too. Tolerance, coexistence and national interest require this. Politicians and political parties for their own interest should not highlight points that segregate and separate people on line of ethnicity, race, religion and language.
The Government of Afghanistan should not take sides of those radicals who fan and fuel the fire of ethnical sedition, discord and disunity. National unity Government had promised to issue the electronic identity card and now it should not let some controversial politicians to succeed stopping this great national project.
The first decision of the parliament on electronic Tazkera (2013) is the best, most comprehensive and least controversial. We need not to judge our fellow countrymen on their faces, names, ethnicities and other affiliations; but member of one nation and let’s try to build that nation.

Asif Ghaznawi is the newly emerging writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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