Holding a joint conference on Wednesday, December 18, in Kabul, three major presidential tickets—led by Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and Rahmatullah Nabil— called on Afghanistan’s Attorney’s General Office to launch an investigation into identity documents of Mohammad Hanif Danishyar, a commissioner of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), who has been accused of age fabrication.
They also submitted a petition to the Attorney’s General Office (AGO) in which the three presidential tickets called for suspending Danishyar’s membership at the IEC. “We ask the Attorney General Office to not let Mohammad Hanif Danishyar continue to work on his position and prosecute him in accordance to the article 437 of the penal code,” part of the petition reads.
According to the article 437 of Afghanistan penal code, forging any kind of official documents such as national identification card, passport, driving license, and other documents issued by government institutions is a crime.
The three presidential tickets made such call after Kabul Now revealed that the IEC commissioner has allegedly committed age fabrication in his recent Tazkira and diplomatic passport – likely to become eligible for membership of the IEC. Original Tazkira and older service passports of Mr. Danishyar suggest that he did not complete the age requirement for membership of the commission by the time he took oath as IEC commissioner.
Anyone who applies for membership of the IEC should be above 35.
The presidential tickets say Danishyar membership is against the oath statement and the election law.
The petition was signed by representatives of the three presidential tickets and was sent to the AGO.
Warning about consequences of the forgery in the ‘sensitive’ election process, Hafizul Rahman Naqi, representative of Peace and Islamic Justice ticket led by Hekmatyar, stressed on investigation of the case by the AGO.
Matiullah Ibrahimzai, representative of the Security and Justice ticket led by Nabil, said during the conference that one female applicant of the IEC membership was rejected for being 20-day younger than 35 years old.
Kabul Now finding, however, suggests that Danishyar was 33 years old at the time of taking oath as member of the IEC according to his original Tazkira.
Talking to Kabul Now, the commissioner said all of his identity and educational documents were thoroughly assessed by the selection committee—committee assigned for checking documents and eligibility of the applicants for IEC membership—and was approved by the committee. He, however, added that responsibility of any likely mistakes on the issuance date and his age on his Tazkira lies with the Afghanistan Central Civil Registration Authority.
Soon after the report was published, the commissioner described the report as “baseless and to exert political pressure” against him in a statement posted on his personal Facebook account. He noted that he will not become under any kind of pressure.
Commenting about the case, Deputy for Afghanistan Lawyers Union, Wahid Farzayee, argued that anyone who commits forgery of official documents needs to be trialed in a penal case. Regarding Danishyar’s membership with the IEC, he said that the commissioner’s membership shall be cancelled and the related authority needed to introduce a replacement for him to the IEC, if he found guilty.
Pointing to the criminal procedure code of Afghanistan, the Afghan lawyer stated that article 56 of the code clearly stipulates that a case must be opened against Mr. Danishyar by the country’s justice and judicial institutions.
Mohammad Ali Farhang, a law expert, argues that given the facts and leaked evidences, prosecution of the IEC commissioner is needed.