Call for engaging ‘Gurus’ to develop transgender database


ISLAMABAD: The Federal Ombudsman’s focal person for Transgender and Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Wednesday urged the authorities concerned to engage “Gurus”, leaders of eunuchs groups who take abandoned transgender into care, to develop a national level database for their socio-economic welfare.

The collection of evidence-based data was imperative to prepare socio-economic profile of transgender community, required to absorb this marginalized segment of society into national mainstream, said Federal Ombudsman focal person for Transgender, Syeda Viqar Un Nisa while highlighting the issues being faced by her office in facilitating them.

She emphasized the need for evolving a system which could help NGOs in involving the gurus, who had the actual details about their community, adding that such mechanism would help the government in taking policy initiatives for them.

“At present, we are relying on the statistics collected in the recently conducted population census, showing that the country has 10,400 transgender. This data is not correct at all,” she claimed.

She complained that the ombudsman transgender office was facing serious issues in highlighting grievances of eunuchs at various platforms, evoking urgency for creating a database to facilitate them.

Head of SAFAAR (NGO) and a Transgender Nadeem Kashish said that the Guru culture prevailing among the eunuchs was identical to the Jirga system which was actually against the constitutional and cultural norms.

Usually, the gurus do not share the transgender data and we have to create a legal ground to make the Gurus legally bound for exchanging information, she insisted.

The transfer of transgender to a guru should be ensured through a contract which would help give an identity to the children they adopt.

Complaining about lack of data of transgender, she said that she was in consultation with international NGOs to collect the accurate data so that they could also avail equal opportunities especially in areas of education, health and employment.

She criticized the departments concerned for gaps in data collection, asserting that over 10,000 transgender were residing only in twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

Kashish also stressed on sensitizing parents of such children to accept them as human beings and give them optimum care at home as they extend to their other children.

“We are nobody’s pain and nobody’s liability. The house where we were born is even reluctant to own us. We are disgraced creatures and punished for an uncommitted sin,” these were the painful remarks of a eunuch Shazia, at Guru’s Dera in Rawalpindi

“It is society’s belief that we are born like this on our own will and deserve to be treated badly,” she added.

She said, “We were also supposed to have every right enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan as given to other citizens,” adding that the transsexuals were deprived of their basic rights which forced them to adopt lowly means to earn their bread and butter.

“The majority of transgender do not reach matric level education because they are not entertained as normal human beings by the regular schools at primary level and this discrimination leads to almost their zero enrollments in educational institutions,” said Professor of Sociology Dr Tahir Khan, University of Peshawar.

Dr Tahir also suggested establishing independent institutions for them to ensure they are groomed as productive citizens in a free and healthy environment.