Concerns as fake identity cards on the increase
KABUL: Identity cards distribution without checking the family background of an applicant has sparked concerns and some people believe the poor process has paved the ground for fake ID cards.
Some experts ask the government to stop the current ID cards distribution process immediately because it would be misused for making fake cards and facilitating fraud in the upcoming elections.
A special ID cards distribution process — covering people above the age of 18 — has been ongoing over the past three months with the aim to distribute nearly 10 million paper ID cards across the country before the October 20 elections.
The upcoming elections to the Wolesi Jirga and district councils are based on paper ID cards and people must have them while voting for their favorite candidates.
The process of ID cards distribution
In normal ID cards distribution process, a person’s Afghan nationality must be guaranteed by at least two government officials during his/her registration as voter.
Besides that ID cards of an applicant’s family members (father, mother, brother and others’) are also checked before he/she can is issued ID card. One government official and an ordinary person with their original ID cards can also guarantee an applicant for taking the card and a local representative should confirm the person’s identity.
Rohullah Ahmadzai, spokesman of Population Registration Department, said the conditions for getting ID cards were still the same as in the normal process but with a difference that now local representative could also guarantee an applicant’s identity.
He confirmed ID cards of family members of an applicant were also not checked in the new process. There are more than 400 organizational units in Afghanistan but base registration books (ID cards registration) are not available in all of them, he said.
Ahmadzai said 1,053 new centers for ID cards distribution were created across the country.
However, a PRD observer in a mobile ID cards distribution process in Arzan Qimat area of capital Kabul, said an applicant required to have original or a copy of his family members (father, mother, brother, uncle or others) ID cards.
But some people say they are concerned about the possible use of fake ID cards as guarantee ID cards during the new registration process.
Concerns about forgery in ID cards distribution
Humayon Humayon, first deputy speaker of Wolesi Jirga, said that distribution of ID cards in new centers and by new officers was worth concerning.
He said foreign nationals might also misuse the process for taking Afghan citizen ID cards.
“A large number of internal and foreign criminals including those from neighboring countries who are banned from traveling abroad or under investigation may misuse this nontransparent process, they may flee after taking new ID cards,” he said. He said some people, who wanted to nominate for the Wolesi Jirga elections, could also misuse the process by taking multiple ID cards for one voter.
Without naming anyone, he said: “High ranking government officials who are facing security problems after having the attached stickers on their Tazkeras have ordered local representatives in Pashtun areas to persuade people to get the second Tazkera which is specific for casting vote, this practice itself has generated concerns.”
Wolesi Jirga member Gulali Akbari acknowledged fraud in Tazkera and added her own bodyguard had obtained three Tazkeras.
Nazar Mohammad Faqiri, a Mesherano Jirga member, said massive fraud was underway in Tazkeras and he knew one individual who got five Tazkeras.
Earlier, the Reform and Change Network, a civil society organization, claimed that people had made duplicate Tazkeras and some sold their Tazkeras with stickers attached.
Individuals who want to contest the Wolesi Jirga polls need to summit 1,000 Tazkeras and those want to contest the district council’s polls should submit 100 copies of tazkeras to the Independent Election Commission (IEC).
Shahla Farid, law and political science teacher at the Kabul University, said if the process of obtaining Tazkera continued the way it was, there was threat foreigners might obtain the Afghan nationality.
She said these people [foreigners] might act in elections as per directives of their countries and it would be dangerous.
She also feared some lawmakers might use the opportunity in their interest and conduct massive fraud in their favor.
She asked the government to stop the current Tazkera distribution because it may give birth to further problems.