ISLAMABAD: Transgender activists filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday requesting it to direct the government to include an additional column for them in the national census form.
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, through their counsel Gul Rehman Mohmand and Saifullah Khan, filed the petition to register the “transgender community” in the census.
They have cited the establishment secretary, interior secretary, bureau of statistics director general, National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) chairman, and the ministry of human rights director general as respondents.
In April 2011, the Supreme Court had directed NADRA to include a column for transgender people on the identity card.
The petitioners said that they are Pakistani citizens and are entitled to all fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.
The counsel said his clients were not shown any respect as human beings and were often disowned by their families due to societal pressures and stigmas associated with being transgender.
“Transgender people are socially isolated and forced to live as a marginalised community,” the petition reads, adding that as human beings and citizens of Pakistan, they deserve integration, honour, inclusion and respect, and should not be deprived of any opportunities because of their gender identities or expression.
Referring to the 2011 judgment, the counsel maintained that the Supreme Court had directed the authorities to provide Computerised National Identity Cards to transgender people, adding that the decision was implemented but it did not list their genders as was their desire.
They said that the respondents should be directed to include a column for transgender persons in the census forms so that in the census, scheduled to be held next year, their statistics are record.
They also urged the court to direct NADRA to issue CNICs which list their specific gender identity.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2016.