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Editorial: Resolve e-NIC issue

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Identity card is a national document issued to citizens of a country everywhere around the globe. Takzira (National Identity Card) is a recognized proof of our identity, citizenship and residence. For the last few years, one among the long debated issue has been the rollout of Electronic National Identity cards (e-NIC). Unfortunately, politicization of the word “Afghan” remained the main hindrance in delaying the rollout process of e-NIC. In March of the last year, President Ashraf Ghani approved the amended draft of the census law that authorized the printing of the word “Afghan” on e-NIC as nationality for all citizens of the country, as already prescribed by the constitution. The Biometric Identity Cards Issuing Authority (BICIA) again and again announced the rollout process and consensus over the issue was developed on several occasions. However, a number of lawmakers are still opposing it and want some changes to be brought in the e-NIC. Heated debates over the issue are going on inside and outside the parliament, but divergences remains in place. Interfering into the issue, the country’s Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah has announced his support to postponing the e-NIC process until national and unanimous consensus over the issue is developed. “The issue should not be dividing the Afghan people and we should focus on other major challenges facing the country,” Abdullah said. Moreover he said, “As a Chief Executive of the country, I support national consensus on this issue to ensure the satisfaction of all countrymen with the distribution of e-NIC.” Opposing the word, “Afghan” and creating obstacles in the rollout process could not be termed a wise move by some lawmakers. However, the Chief Executive, seeking national consensus over the issue is a responsible and wise decision. We must not forget that all citizens of the country are Afghans. So, why not in Tazkira? The leadership of Unity Government, including Dr. Abdullah and public representatives should come to the fore to overcome all differences over the issue by realizing their individual and collective responsibilities, especially when it comes to national interests and identity. We all have been eye-witnessed that since the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001, the non-presence of e-NIC was always considered as the main factor behind the worst security situation in the country. Militants and enemies of Afghanistan had been freely traveled to carry out heinous acts of terrorism and destruction in every part of the country. By nature, individuals in possession of e-NIC have been less likely to commit crimes. It also paves way to fairer and transparent electoral process to be held for the Wolesi Jirga, provincial councils and the country’s presidency. Holding transparent elections in the country is a general demand by the masses and insecurity is the major issue. Keeping in view the prevailing situations in the country, collection of biometric data of our compatriots in order to regulate them in better way is very much necessary. It will also help the country’s patriotic security and defense forces to chase insurgency in a better way in mountains and valleys across the country. Efforts should be made on war-footed bases to reach the national consensus on the issue, without removing the word, “Afghan” because it does not represent a single ethnicity of our society. Afghanistan is just like a garden and the different ethnic tribes are flowers with different colors. No doubt, all the citizens of the beloved Afghanistan are equal in rights. We all are the parts of the same body, having shared valves, culture and history. We should not let to be divided on religious, racial and linguistic bases. Now we should learn how to seek unity in diversity. At this critical stage, Afghanistan and its war-hit people are in dire need of collective wisdom to overcome challenges and to bring peace, prosperity and stability to our motherland.