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Transgenders show little interest in CNICs

LAHORE: Transgenders (Khwaja Siras) gave a poor response to the campaign for issuing them computerised national identity cards and registering them as voters as directed by the Supreme Court.

The National Database and Registration Authority and the Election Commission of Pakistan in collaboration with the social welfare department set up a special desk at each district office of the ECP for one day on Monday to register transgenders but the turnout was very discouraging.

In Lahore, only 41 transgenders turned up and of them three sought to be registered as voters. Twenty-five qualified to get CNICs while the others were turned back for failing to submit complete documents.

The ECP says data of the remaining ones has been collected by Nadra for the issuance of CNICs after which they will get their votes registered in the electoral rolls.

The one-day exercise had been undertaken to recognise the identity of transgenders and give them right to vote, under a direction of the apex court.

Neeli Rana, a representative of transgenders present at the desk, told Dawn that efforts were being made to sensitise her community about the importance of getting CNICs and becoming a voter.

She admitted that there was reluctance in the community to come to fore for getting their identity cards and resultantly public space. She hoped that the attitudes would change with the passage of time.

She said earlier the transgenders were refusing to be registered with Nadra (for CNIC) with the name of their biological father and were insisting to be identified with their guru.

But, she said, they realised that as one may change one’s guru at any stage in life (an established norm in the community) it will surely create difficulties in the identity documents.