An historic decision will make it a lot easier for trans people to apply for national identity cards in Pakistan.
Trans people can now used their ‘gurus’ name in lieu of their parents when registering country’s computerised national identity cards (CNICs).
The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) which authorizes the CNICs confirmed the change to the Lahore High Court.
Normally all people need their parents’ name when applying for a CNIC. But for many trans people that was difficult if they had been disowned by their parents or whose parents were not aware of their trans identity.
NADRA announced in early September it would make changes to the CNIC registration system to make it easier for trans people.
‘A transgender person will now be able to use the name of his/her gurus as parents and furnish witness of any CNIC,’ representatives for NADRA told the court.
‘The registration of gurus will be carried out at NADRA headquarters through a module already being used for registration of orphans.’
NADRA made the changes after trans woman, Mian Aasia, took the matter to court.
Having a CNIC is crucial for finding work and other daily needs in Pakistan. It is also necessary to be counted in the census. Pakistani trans people argued that many were left out of the 2016 census because they did not have a CNIC.
Pakistan’s ‘third gender’ people are known as the khawaja sira and are different to the western concept of a trans identity.
There is a centuries-old practice in place where new khawaja siras are taken in by gurus who care for them and guide them.
The gurus act as a new familial support including social and financial support.