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Pak SC directs EC to list transgenders as voters

The court said the registration process should be accelerated at the federal, provincial and district levels.

Islamabad: Pakistan`s Supreme Court on Monday
directed the Election Commission to speed up the registration
of trans-gender people as voters across the country and to
complete the process as soon as possible.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry issued
the order while hearing a petition filed by activist Aslam
Khaki to protect the rights of eunuchs.

The court said the registration process should be
accelerated at the federal, provincial and district levels.

The court sought a comprehensive report regarding the
welfare of trans-gender people from the federal and provincial
governments within a week.

The Joint Sectary of the Election Commission informed the
court that it had registered 104 eunuchs from six districts as
voters. He said the Commission has sped up the process for
enrolling more eunuchs.

The court further directed the National Database and
Registration Authority to speed up the process of issuing
National Identity Cards to eunuchs. "The eunuchs are human
beings and they must be treated as human beings," the Chief
Justice remarked.

During the course of the hearing, the Social Welfare
Secretary of Balochistan province submitted a report regarding
steps being taken for welfare of trans-gender people.

The Chief Justice expressed serious concern at the
report and remarked that a year had passed since the apex
court issued an order but the provincial government had not
taken steps for the welfare of the third gender.

He warned the Social Welfare Secretary that the court
would hold him responsible if effective steps for the welfare
of eunuchs were not taken in Balochistan.

The Secretary informed the court that he had written
many letters to Chief Secretary and other officials but they
were not cooperating with him.

Raffi Khan, a eunuch, informed the court that she had a
MA degree in Political Science and had been working as a tax
collector in the Cantonment Board of Karachi with 19 other
eunuchs for the past two years. She said the eunuchs had
recovered unpaid taxes worth Rs 130 million.

She asked the court to direct the government to allocate
a quota for eunuchs in every department. The Chief Justice
remarked that the federal and provincial governments should
create jobs for eunuchs. "Eunuchs are Pakistani citizens and
nobody can deprive them from their rights of inheritance.

The Constitution protects and safeguards all fundamental
rights of the citizen of the country," he observed. The court
has adjourned the case till the first week of January.