New Pakistani law creates third gender category

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Monday directed the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) not to indulge in ‘gender’ verification of eunuchs by a medical board and amend its laws to declare transgender as she-male.

A three-member bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani also directed Nadra to amend the law to include eunuchs in the gender column of the identification records. The court asked all the provincial governments to protect the fundamental rights of eunuchs and also take steps for giving them inheritance rights.

The court directed Nadra to expedite efforts for issuance of National Identity Cards (NICs) to eunuchs, besides registering them as she-males. The court observed that eunuchs are Pakistani citizens, but they are deprived of various rights, including the right of having NICs.

During the hearing, all the provincial governments submitted their reports about their steps for the welfare of eunuchs. The court was informed that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh governments had appointed focal person of eunuchs to represent them and coordinate issues/cases between eunuchs and administrative departments properly. The court also directed the Punjab and Balochistan governments to appoint focal person as well.

The KPK government stated in its report that the Higher Education Department of the province would continue to impart higher education to all citizens, including eunuchs without any discrimination under the provisions of sub clauses (1) and (2) of Article 25 of the Constitution.

Dr Muhammad Aslam Khaki, the counsel for eunuchs, informed the court that Nadra was asking eunuchs for documentation to confirm their gender before issuance of NICs. The court asked the Manager Legal, Nadra, who was present in the courtroom, whether such documentation was also required to issue identity cards to men and women. The Nadra representative informed the court that an ordinance would soon be promulgated for registration and declaration of eunuchs as she-males. The chief justice said when eunuchs would be given their complete rights, their families would also own them. He warned that a stern action would be taken against those police officers who tried to harass eunuchs. Later, the hearing was adjourned for three weeks.

Nadra in December 2010 had agreed to add a third option under the gender category in identity card forms. It had said the applications forms for NICs would contain the third option of ‘Khawaja sara’ (transgender) along with ‘male’ and ‘female’.

Talking to newsmen after the hearing, the president of the She-male Association of Pakistan, Almas Boby, expressed gratitude to the court for granting the community their rights.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=43662&Cat=2&dt=4/26/2011

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