The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) on Thursday sought a report from the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) on the process of issuing identity cards based on the definition of "transgender".
"How does NADRA define transgender male and transgender female?" asked the Shariat Court.
The court ordered NADRA to submit a report within 15 days, detailing the definition of the term "transgender" and how it is considered in the process of issuing identity cards.
NADRA' counsel argued that Regulation 13 of the issuing authority has become ineffective with the introduction of the Transgender Act.
Even before the Transgender Act 2018 was promulgated, NADRA would issue identity cards to transgender individuals, said the counsel.
Since the Transgender Act, transgender individuals have the letter "X" written for their gender, instead of "M" or "F", he added.
When the FSC judge asked how NADRA defines a transgender woman and transgender man, the counsel asked for more time to prepare a response.
Chief Justice Dr Syed Mohammad Anwar expressed displeasure and said that the court was hearing the case after many days but the authority failed to prepare the main point.
"Explain to the court under what procedure NADRA is determining the transgender identity," ordered the FSC chief justice.
Jamaat-e-Islami Senator Mushtaq Shayari also appeared in court. Referring to the award winning film Joyland, the senator said that a film about transgenders in Pakistan is releasing on November 18.
The film is based on the romantic story of a transgender woman and a man, he said, claiming that the Censor Board has cleared the release of the film without even viewing it.
Senator Mushtaq also requested a "halt on all matters related to the Transgender Act until the matter is resolved".
Further, he said that NADRA should answer whether someone requesting a transgender identity card undergoes a medical test.
"How many people have benefited from the transgender law?" asked the chief justice of the Shariat Court.
He claimed that so far, the number of beneficiaries of the Transgender Act has been reported to be zero.
According to a representative of the Ministry of Human Rights, a transgender protection center has been established in the ministry.
"The ministry of human rights should seriously look into the issue of transgenders," said Justice Anwar.
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