SC urges to formulate policy for social inclusion of transgender persons


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday issued directives to the federal and all the provincial governments to formulate policy for welfare transgender community for ensuring their constitutional right to living a dignified life, with an objective to end social exclusion of the community and to bring them into the mainstream society.

At the outset of the hearing of a suo-motu notice regarding the issuance of CNIC to transgender persons, Additional Attorney General Syed Nayyar Abbas Rizvi told a three-member bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar that NADRA had started issuance of the cards to transgenders in pursuance of the court orders.

Rizvi informed that all the provincial chief secretaries shall ensure that the social development department had worked hand in glove with NADRA for registration of transgender persons.

Law and Justice Commission Secretary Dr Muhammad Raheem Awan submitted that in pursuance of the court’s earlier directives, the Commission had finalised its recommendation in shape of transgender persons welfare policy, for the federation and provincial governments to devise a legal framework for ensuring constitutional rights of transgenders like other citizens of the country.

Punjab Social Protection Authority Chief Executive Officer Dr Sohail Anwar apprised the court that United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had declared Pakistan as the only country to be working on policies for people of the third gender. He informed that the UNDP had also acknowledged efforts of relevant authorities in Pakistan for the rights of transgender persons.

Anwar said that Pakistan was among the nine countries which had drafted policies for the welfare of transgender persons.

After going through the report of Law and Justice Commission committee, the chief justice issued directives to the federation and provincial governments to formulate a policy in accordance with committee’s report on the matter.

The committee report recommends a number of steps to be taken for the welfare of the transgender community in the social sector by providing housing, education, health services, establishing emergency support centres and general public services.

The general public service includes providing service of full access to transgender persons for character certificate, telecom services, birth/death certificate, domicile certificate, property related services including fard-e-malkiyat, vehicle registration, driving license, passport, assets purchase and taxation. Moreover, when immediate next of kin are not available, Shehr-e-Khamoshan Authority/municipal committees will be responsible for the funeral of transgender persons.

Later, the suo motu notice was disposed of.

Meanwhile, a workshop to review welfare policy for the transgender community was held in the auditorium of Punjab Planning & Development department with all stakeholders and representatives of the transgender community.

Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Punjab Director Amna Shabbir apprised that BISP was the only federal government programme which had fulfilled its commitment and had given a job to a transgender.

She said that the BISP had special consideration for the transgender community in its upcoming survey called NSER. Every family with a transgender child will be included in eligible beneficiary data of BISP, she added.

At the occasion, members of transgender community applauded the initiatives of BISP Secretary Omer Hameed Khan Secretary and NSER Punjab DG Ahmed Taimoor Nasir.

Members of civil society, transgender community, political figures, federal and provincial bureaucrats and members of different NGOs participated in the workshop.