Pakistani eunuchs to get national identity cards

ISLAMABAD:Eunuchs in Pakistan will for the first time get their gender specified in registration forms and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) will issue computerized national identity cards (CNICs) to them from January 1, 2011. Under the directives of the Supreme Court, NADRA has prepared a new software for registration of eunuchs, providing a separate column in the registration forms in which the word ‘mukhannas’ would be written, a NADRA official confirmed here Tuesday.

At present there are two columns in the forms – for men and women. According to the CNIC Regulations of 2002, the eunuchs are considered ‘male’. The population of eunuchs in Pakistan is difficult to ascertain because about 80,000 are
said to have acquired the CNICs, but a large number of them are reluctant to be registered as men.

The apex court issued directives to district coordination officers in December last year to find out eunuchs’ families and help deprived eunuchs to get their inheritance rights, for issuance of identity cards by NADRA after determining their gender through hormone tests and their enrollment in voters’ lists and for providing free health facilities and vocational
or professional education facilities to them. The court also suggested using the services of eunuchs in the national polio immunization campaign.

The court suggested that the government should follow the Indian model where eunuchs were employed for recovering loans and taxes. Eunuchs do not generally get any opportunity of education and most of them are trained to beg or dance on different occasions or forced into prostitution. It is believed that following the issuance of their CNICs, they will be able to live a better life and contribute to the development of the country.

Input from Agencies

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Noreen Gill

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