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Court challenge frees up NADRA to restart ID card issuance to trans people

Court challenge frees up NADRA to restart ID card issuance to trans people

Pakistan’s national database and registry, NADRA, is resuming issuing ID cards to transgender people using an X to designate a third gender that is neither male nor female after a four-month pause.

This came after an Islamic court ruled in May that giving trans people equal rights goes against Islam and that they cannot elect to change their gender, according to AP reporting. The Islamic court is constitutionally mandated to determine whether Pakistan’s laws comply with Islamic doctrine.

Activist Farhatullah Babar told AP that human rights activists appealed the court’s ruling on the grounds that it violates the basic rights of trans people. Under Pakistani law, court rulings that face appeals or review petitions cannot go into effect until a decision is made, allowing for NADRA to resume issuing IDs to trans people.

In 2018, the Pakistan Parliament implemented the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act to enforce basic human rights for trans people in Pakistan including legal gender recognition.

Still, trans people are often seen as outcasts in the Muslim-majority country, forced to turn to begging, dancing, and prostitution to earn money. They also fear the potential of violence.

“Congratulations to the entire community of transgender activists in Pakistan for your relentless struggle,” posted trans activist Nayyab Ali on Monday on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “A heartfelt thank you to all the institutions.”

In Karachi, NADRA has also extended ID card renewal, information updates, and other essential surveys to ten post offices in the city to improve access for citizens, according to a release. These locations will not have the biometric facility for blood relatives. Forms regarding the facility need to be renewed by a grade-16 officer.

The issuing of family registration certificates is expected to be available sometime next week.

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