Issuance of CNICs to eunuchs
NGOs sound caution over condition of medical testing
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and representative bodies of transgender community have sounded caution over imposition of a precondition for medical testing and obtaining certificates from the Ministry of Social Welfare, saying that the proposed exercise could potentially lead to harassment and exploitation of eunuchs.
The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has announced to include third section for eunuchs in the registration forms for issuance of computerised national identity cards (CNICs). All eunuchs would have to get individual certificates based on a medical test from the Ministry of Social Welfare proving their eligibility as sexual minority members. The medical test would include in some cases X-rays and endoscopies.
The Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA) -- a Karachi-based representative body of eunuchs -- has rejected the demand. GIA President Bindia Rana said the organisation would not accept the condition. “We didn’t accept undergoing a medical investigation before and we maintain the same position now,” Bindia said.
Almas Bobby, president of the Islamabad-based organisation, Shemale Rights of Pakistan (SRP), said the condition to get individual certificates from social welfare department could potentially be a source of harassment. Bobby said that the SRP welcomes the announcement under the Supreme Court instructions, but will always reject the condition of medical testing as a prerequisite for the issuance of CNICs to their community members.
The president of the Roshni Helpline, a Karachi-based organisation working for the rights of children, women and eunuchs, said that eunuchs are citizens of Pakistan and it is a fundamental right of every citizen to have a national identity card. This is their fundamental right and a legal requirement for all citizens to get identification documentation. Filling of the sexual representation section should be left for the individuals who know themselves better. I do not think mentioning in the third section as eunuchs will translate into exploitation of national resources and overstepping of someone’s rights or any threat to national security.”
He said the basic issue was that an ID should be issued to every citizen of Pakistan. “There are about 17,000 eunuchs in Karachi and none of them carries an identity card. A person without an ID card can be a threat to an individual or an institution, not a person who mentions a different sexual identification,” Ali added.