Monday September 25, 2023

Transgender community moves PHC to change census form

September 06, 2016

PESHAWAR: The transgender community in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday moved the Peshawar High Court (PHC) against the government for not including the transgender column in the census form, terming it a violation of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Farzana, president of TransAction Alliance Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, vice-president Paro and nine others filed the writ petition through their lawyers Hashim Raza and Gul Rehman Mohmand.

Secretary establishment, secretary interior, director general Bureau of Statistics, Government of Pakistan, provincial director Bureau of Statistics, chairman National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), director general Nadra, KP, chief election commissioner, DG Ministry of Human Rights, regional director Human Rights Khyber Pakhtunkhwa through chief secretary and secretary Social Welfare Department were made parties in the petition.

The civil society is giving legal support to the petitioners as rights activists Qamar Naseem and Taimur Kamal were present during the submission of the petition in the high court.

The transgender community requested the high court to direct the respondents to amend the census form by adding a new column of “transgender community” in it and to issue CNICs to the transgender community, mentioning their status as male/female transgender or intersex (in between them).

The court was also requested to direct the respondents to reserve quota in services as per policy of the KP government for the whole of Pakistan.

As interim relief, the petitioners requested the court to suspend the census till an amendment was made in the census form as there was no column for the transgender community and if census was carried out without amending the form, the transgender community would be deprived of their fundamental right.

In the grounds of the petition, it was stated that the petitioners were citizens of Pakistan and inhabitants of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and they were entitled to all fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

“The petitioners are transgender and intersex persons. They are living in their own community, of which Farzana is president for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Due to their gender and expression, they are often expelled from their homes by their parents, while many of them had to leave their homes due to day-to-day harassment and mental torture by the family members, neighbours and society because of the taboo and stigma associated with their gender identity,” the petition stated.

The transgender community claimed that after attaining the age of 18 years, they are not issued CNICs by the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) as their parents are not willing to give them recognition and due to non-availability of their family tree, they are not issued CNICs by the Nadra, which is a question mark on the rights as safeguarded under the Constitution of Pakistan.

“The petitioners and other transgender and intersex persons are born by Almighty Allah, and they deserve empathy of the state and concrete actions by government line department so that they can be integrated in the society as equal and productive citizens and should not be discriminated on basis of their gender identity,” the petition said.

The-then chief justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, in 2009 took suo moto action for the first time in the history of Pakistan and Nadra was directed to issue them CNICs.

However, they pointed out that Nadra had issued CNICs to a small number of transvestites and recognised them as transgender males or transgender female but many were not provided with CNICs having their preferred gender.

Furthermore, the petition said the intersex people were not accommodated by Nadra and they had no provision to issue them CNICs as the Nadra officials in different parts of Pakistan act differently and most of the time refused to change the sex of the transgender persons in their identity cards according to their desired self-identified sex, which caused confusion and disappointment in the transgender community.It said the Bureau of Statistics had neither registered the transgender community nor listed them in the population.