Pak SC comes out in support of transgenders

The court has directed national database not to verify the sex of the trans-genders.

Islamabad: Pakistan`s Supreme Court has directed the national database not to verify the sex of the trans-genders through a medical board and to amend its laws to declare eunuchs as she-males.

The directive was issued to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

The order was issued while the bench was hearing a case filed by Muhammad Aslam Khaki, a lawyer who has been campaigning for the rights of transgender people.

Khaki told the court that NADRA had set a complicated procedure for issuing identity cards to transgender people and was asking them for documentation to confirm their gender.

Members of the transgender community too have expressed concern over what they described as NADRA`s complicated verification process.

Following an earlier order from the apex court, a third column of "mukhanas" for eunuchs was included in the form for applying for a national identity card in January.

A NADRA official had told the Supreme Court during the hearing on Monday that those applying under the "mukhanas" category need to satisfy some requirements as there were two sub-categories in the category - `khwaja sira` or he-males and
`zankha` or she-males.

The apex court asked NADRA`s legal manager whether such documentation and verification is required to issue identity cards to men and women.

The NADRA official informed the bench that an ordinance will soon be promulgated for the registration and declaration of eunuchs as she-males.

Chief Justice Chaudhry warned that stern action will be taken against policemen who try to harass transgender people.

He said that if transgender people are given their rights, their families too will accept them.

The court directed NADRA to expedite efforts to issue Computerised National Identity Cards to transgender people.

The apex court also asked all provincial governments to protect the fundamental rights of transgender people and to take steps to grant them inheritance rights.

All provincial governments submitted reports to the apex court about steps taken for the welfare of trans-gender people.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces have appointed focal persons to represent transgender people and to coordinate between them and government departments.

The court directed Punjab and Balochistan provinces to appoint focal persons.


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