(MENAFN - Pajhwok Afghan News) KABUL (Pajhwok): The Jogi minority for the first time received their national identity cards before the October 2018Wolesi Jirga elections and cast their votes, but they now claim the organs concerned do not accept their ID cards.
Jogies, a small number of people migrated toAfghanistan from India in the past, received their ID cards based on an agreement with the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation in cooperation with Tawfiq Wahdat, a lawmaker from Kabul in March 2018.
Afghanistan Population Registration Department (PRD) says the ID cards distributed to Jogies were real and credible.
According to ablogabout tribes and ethnic groups of Afghanistan, Jogi people have been suffering from economic issues and have no stable residence despite migrating to Afghanistan thousands of years ago.
The source says Jogies are a division of Sadhu of India and around 10,000 of them live in Afghanistan in Kabul and some other provinces of the country.
They have no stable residence and shift their tent houses from one area to another, according to the source.
The Central Statistics Organzation (CSO) has no information about the exact number of Jogies living in the country.
According to a Pajhwok Afghan Newsreportabout an investigation on ethnic discrimination in Afghanistan, Jogies were treated unlike other groups in the country and they were denied ID cards despite living here for generations.
Elections underlie identity recognition of Jogis
Jogies say the election campaigns for October 2018 Wolesi Jirga election paved the ground for them to get their identity cards.
Ahmad Shah Khan, 18, one from Jogi tribe who previously lived with his family in Kunduz province but now he lives in a camp of 30 families near Charahi Qambar Square in Kabul, said they got their ID cards last year and participated in Wolesi Jirga elections.
'We are a poor and forgotten tribe, we had not our ID cards for generations, last year a Wolesi Jirga candidate, (Tawfiq Wahdat) visited us and helped us in getting the cards for the reason that we should give votes to him, we voted but now our card are denied verification,' he said.
He said the offices concerned told them their ID cards were fake and could not be verified.
He said he got hiseducation up to 9th grade but was expelled from school because he had no ID card.
About the person who helped Jogies in getting their ID cards, he said, 'We are also Afghans, we cast our votes for him, he is now in power, God help him to give us real ID cards and solve our problems.'
Khan said around 30 families of Jogies were currently living in Charahi Qambar Square in Kabul and 150 members of the families got their ID cards with the help of the candidate.
However, he said the PRD now says their ID cards are fake. He said a number of other Jogies living in Karta-i-Naw and Bagrami areas of Kabul had also obtained their ID cards with the help of the same candidate and they also used them in elections.
Khan said her sister had been suffering from cancer and died as they had no ID card and passport for taking her to a foreign country for treatment.
Mohammad Qinat, another 60-year old Jogi, who is living in a tent in Qal-i-Wazir area of Kabul city, said national ID cards (Tazkira) have been distributed among a number of Jogies before Wolesi Jirga elections.
He did not mention who distributed ID cards to them but said now when they wanted to confirm their ID cards officials were telling them that their ID cards were fake.
He said had attention been paid to them, their children would be attending schools and they would have not faced such a situation
Gulistan, a Joi woman who has been also living in a tent along with her family in Qanbar square of Kabul city, said she was 70 years old and for the first time a Wolesi Jirga candidate helped them get ID cards but now officials were not recognizing their cards.
Officials: The ID cards are not fake
Ruhullah Ahmadzai, Central Statistics organization's spokesman, told Pajhwok that for the first time they issued ID cards to the Jogi tribe in Afghanistan last year but he did not know how much Jogies have received the ID cards so far.
Ahmadzai added certain ID cards of the Jogi people were not fake and if they have some problem in this regard, then they could meet them for solution.
When asked why ID cards were not issued to the Jogies, he said: 'I don't want to speak about this it should be asked from the officials of former government that why the Jogi people did not receive ID cards.'
Muhar Khoda Saber, Deputy Minister of Refugee and Repatriation, said they devised a plan for issuing ID cards to displaced families and Jogies and the plan was approved by the ministers' council and later implemented by the president decree last year. He had no exact number for the Jogies people in the country.
About fake ID cards issue, he said a while back some displaced people had the same problem but the issue was shared with them, it was investigated by their rights department and addressed the issue.
'If the Jogi people have also the same concern, they have to share it with us for solution at earliest possible.'
Tawfiq Wahdat, a lawmaker from capital Kabul, said in compliance with president decree ID cards were issued to Jogi people for the first time last year.
He said, 'I am honored to having helped the Jogi people and brought them a team of ID cards in order they participate in the Wolesi Jirga elections.'
He rejected the allegation of some officials that the ID cards issued to the Jogies were fakes.
Habib Rahman Nang, Independent Election Commission ( IEC ) secretary, said: 'I don't want to talk in this regard because it this issue does not belong to us so please contact the CSO for further details.'
He said in the previous elections fake ID cards had been used and it was a biggest challenge in the polls.