The petition urged the court to direct NADRA authorities to issue them CNICs defining their specific gender. PHOTO: ONLINE
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court issued notices to some key government officials on a petition filed by transgender people. It sought court orders to authorities to include an additional column for the community in the national census form.
Justice Athar Minallah issued notices to the respondents with directions to submit a reply in the case.
Petitioners Umer alias Pinki, Faisal Hayat alias Anaya, Muhammad Saeed alias Pinki, Muhammad Asif alias Rukhsar, Nadeemul Zafar alias Kashish, Sadaf alias Gori and Muhammad Hussain alias Bijli filed the petition to include the transgender community in the census form. The plea was filed through their counsels Gul Rehman Mohmand and Saifullah Khan.
The petitioners named the establishment and interior secretaries, Bureau of Statistics director general, National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) chairman and the Ministry for Law’s human rights director general as respondents.
In the petition, the transgender people said they were Pakistani citizens and were entitled to all fundamental rights under the Constitution.
The counsel said that the petitioners, as transgender people, were often not even owned by their parents and relatives due to societal stigmas and taboos.
“Transgender people are socially isolated and forced to live as a marginalised community,” the petition read. It added that as humans and citizens of Pakistan, they deserve integration, honour, inclusion, respect and should not be deprived of any opportunities because of their gender identity or expression.
The counsel maintained that in a judgment, the Supreme Court ordered the authorities provide computerised national identity cards to the transgender people. He pointed out that’s the decision was implemented, but the gender was not defined, as desired by the community.
They said that the respondents be ordered to include a column for transgender community in the upcoming national census so their statistics and share in resources can be determined.
The petition urged the court to direct NADRA authorities to issue them CNICs defining their specific gender. It went on to say that appropriate directions under the law would be in the interest of justice as the petitioners had not been treated and protected by the respondents as per the constitution. The petitioners also requested the court order authorities to reserve a job quota for them.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2016.