SC constitutes committee to ensure issuance of CNICs to transgender persons

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Chief Justice Saqib Nisar
The Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered on Monday to form a special committee to ensure the issuance of computerised national identity cards (CNIC) to the transgender persons within 15 days.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar presided over the suo motu hearing of non-issuance of CNICS of the transgender persons at apex court’s Lahore Registry.

During the case proceedings, the CJP remarked that the CNICs should be issued through the one-window mechanism, adding that the SC will monitor the progress of process online. “I myself will monitor the entire process.”

He observed that special courts will be formed for the security of the transgender community. “The problems of the transgender communities cannot be solved until they are provided legal security,” the CJP noted.

“We will not tolerate any kind of mistreatment or eve-teasing of the transgender community,” he stressed. All those transgender persons who have CNICS should be allowed to vote. Khawaja Seras are an important part of our society, Chief Justice Nisar added. “We don’t know about government but will try to provide all legal provisions to the transgender persons,” he observed.

The top judge had taken suo motu notice of the incident Sunday afternoon. A press release issued by the Supreme Court stated that the chief justice took notice after his visit to Foundation House in Lahore, where transgender persons complained to him regarding non-issuance of CNICs.

Fountain House is a shelter facility that has recently been opened in Lahore’s Rachna Town for transgender persons. The facility houses transgender people aged 50 or above, as well as those seeking treatment for diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis. Transgender people are provided with food and medical treatment free of cost at the shelter home.

Although the law in Pakistan promises all the basic rights to transgender persons in the country, they continue to face difficulties in getting access to such services.

‘Historical day for us’

Meanwhile, members of the transgender community have also gathered outside the Lahore registry, one of the transgender persons said: “non-issuance of CNICs is not our only problem. We don’t get hired for government jobs.”

She further shared that the community aspires to become self-sufficient so that the society starts respecting them. “Even now, we are still not considered as equal citizens,” she added. “This is a historical day for us today,” she remarked, adding that the entire community is grateful of the top judge for taking suo motu notice of this issue.

In March, the Senate unanimously approved Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2017. In the same month, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government issued driving licences to two transgender persons.

Moreover, the National Database and Registration Authority started providing transgendered community members with three gender categories on the registration forms for CNICs. But the community remains grappling for survival.

However, their woes pertaining to the issuance of CNICs would be heard at the top court’s Lahore Registry on Monday (tomorrow) where the chief justice has summoned chief secretary Punjab, other relevant officials and Akhuwat Foundation Executive Director Dr Amjad Saqib.

Originally Posted on SuchTv

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