Fighting for recognition: Transgenders demand inclusion in census

Published: September 6, 2016
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Say column in census will determine statistics upon which share in resources could be made. 
PHOTO: REUTERS

Say column in census will determine statistics upon which share in resources could be made. PHOTO: REUTERS

PESHAWAR: People who are transgender filed a petition at Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Monday urging the federal government to include a column for them in census forms.

The petition was filed by Riaz alias Farzana, Sammar Ahmad alias Chocolate and 10 others in which federal secretary for establishment, secretary for interior, chief election commissioner and provincial election commissioner were respondents.

The petitioners said it was the responsibility of Bureau of Statistics to conduct census which included their gender. They said the census was going to be conducted after 18 years, but the government has not included a separate column for people who are transgender.

The petitioners asked PHC to direct respondents to amend the census form by adding a new column for them so their statistics could be revealed and based on the figures, they could secure appropriate shares in resources.

They said forthcoming census should be suspended till forms were amended and a column for petitioners included.

While the minister for social welfare said there were 350 people who were transgender, no census had been done to determine exact numbers.

Other demands

The petitioners also demanded implementation of K-P government’s announcement of 2% job quota. They said the allocation of Rs200 million was not enough and the government should announce a package for their welfare. They also urged issuance of their CNICs without further delay. The petitioners said at the age of 18, they were not issued CNICs by National Database and Registration Authority since their parents were unwilling to recognise them. According to the petition, former  chief justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had recognised transgender persons in 2009 and NADRA was ordered to issue identity cards to them.

The petition stated due to their gender, they were either expelled from their homes by their parents or were forced to leave due to harassment and mental torture by family members, neighbours and society. They urged PHC to ensure their rights were granted and protected.

Later, speaking at a news conference at Peshawar Press Club, Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network Coordinator Taimur Kamal said inequality and discrimination were affecting people who are transgender.

The community demanded the government adopt a positive policy where every segment of society was integrated regardless of its sex or sect so the country could prosper.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2016.

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