ISLAMABAD: The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has upgraded its policy for registration of transgender people and now even those who do not have information about their parents can also obtain CNICs (Computer­ised National Identity Cards).

Earlier Nadra allowed only those transgender people who had documents of their parents duly attested by a social welfare officer and those without such documents could not obtain CNICs.

A Nadra spokesperson said on Tuesday that a number of transgender people did not posses valid documents or did not have information about their biological parents because they were abandoned by their families at a very young age.

Under the new policy transgender people having no information about their parents can apply for registration at Nadra by showing their gurus (leaders of transgender groups who take abandoned transgender children into their care) as their guardians. Names of their parents will randomly be selected from the Nadra database.

The new policy has been prepared in line with the orders of the Lahore High Court.

Nadra has decided to make a similar policy for orphan children who do not have information about their parents.

Already registered gurus will be considered heads of families of applicants and will, therefore, provide biometric verification. Besides this, any valid CNIC holder will serve as the witness for the applicant and the post-verification of such cases will be reviewed every six months by the Nadra vigilance department in order to confirm their legitimacy.

The new policy will allow those transgender people who already have CNICs to register themselves in the Nadra database as gurus. The procedure for the registration of gurus will require a copy of their CNICs along with an affidavit form attested by a first class magistrate.

After verification by the Nadra’s regional head offices, documents will be forwarded to the authority’s headquarters for subsequent registration of ‘gurus’ in the database.

The policy to register transgender people was devised by Nadra after directives of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in its December 2009 verdict, entailing that any applicant from the community could get himself /herself registered with his/her desired gender.

With regard to registration of transgender people, Nadra has already introduced the policy titled ‘eunuch male’, ‘eunuch female’ and ‘unisex’ gender options. It is the sole discretion of the applicant to choose any of them.

The gender can be modified in the national identity card as per appearance or desire of the applicant.

The Nadra spokesperson said that the authority understood that minorities, such as transgender people, encountered many barriers in their daily lives and fully supported measures to protect their fundamental rights as per the Constitution of the country.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2017