Karachi: The government on Friday decided to carry out a one-day registration campaign of transgender individuals enabling them to vote in the upcoming election as well as becoming eligible for government employment.
The decision was taken at a meeting held at Sindh Election Commission along with the National Data Registration Authority (Nadra), and representatives of eunuchs, locally known as ‘Hijras', as well as Sindh Social Welfare Department officials.
Voluntary organisations have been working for the rights of transgender individuals and the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled in the favour of ‘the third gender' who have remained outcasts in this society.
The election commission and Nadra teams would on January 28 sit in 27 districts of the Sindh province to enrol the eunuchs and issue them national identity cards as well as register them as voters.
"We would arrange the facility in all the districts of the province and we hope that they would come and register in a big way," provincial election commissioner Sono Khan Baloch told Gulf News.
The key impediment to registering the eunuch was mentioning their father's name in the national identity card, an key requirement for basic documentation.
Most of the eunuchs hide their parents' identity to prevent them from social embarrassment and acknowledge their "guru" or teacher as their father. A majority of them do not go for formal education thus having no basic documentation.
"They did not need any document before because they were begging on the streets or doing work as sex workers," Baloch said.
"But now the court has ruled that they should be treated at par with the other members of the society," Baloch said. "We want them to be a part of our voters list as soon as they get the national identity cards," the official said.
Some activists believe that the government has moved now because the next hearing date for the case was February 1.
"Today's meeting was held because the there is hearing of the case on first [of February]," said Bindia Rana, an eunuch who heads the Gender Interactive Alliance.
She said that her community had inherent problems because they only knew their "guru" as their father and since a majority of them had never been to schools they did not have basic documents.
"Since our childhood we know our guru as our father," Rana said and added: "We don't need to provide the names of fathers."