The transgender community in Punjab saw new hope as their voter registration began, and Computerised National Identity Cards (NIC) were issued by National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).
Nadra was initially charging Rs1,000 to issue the ID cards to which the transgenders started protesting. The protests led to the cancellation of the fees, and the transgenders celebrated by chanting slogans in the favour of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
At least 21 votes were registered and 25 NICs were issued to members of the transgender community in Rawalpindi. The issues regarding the gender and paternity to be mentioned on the CNICs have also been resolved. The cards will now bear the father’s name of the transgenders and their gender will be termed as “female”, which is in contradiction with Nadra’s earlier announcement of providing a “third gender”.
The Nadra spokesman had said in a statement that as per the Supreme Court’s instructions, third genders can have male transgender, female transgender or “Khunsa-e-mushkil” written on their ID card as per their own will.
Last year, the Supreme Court directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to enlist transgenders as part of the voters list by contacting them. After the court’s verdict, Shahana Abbas Shani, President of She-male Association, announced that she will contest elections as an independent candidate for Muzaffargarh PP-254 constituency of provincial assembly.