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Way opens for eunuchs’ right to inheritance

By: Nasir Iqbal

ISLAMABAD: Eunuchs in the country can hope to get their right to inheritance in general. The Punjab government has traced four properties in which the family deprived its eunuch member of its share.

Additional Advocate General of Punjab Jawwad Hassan reported to the Supreme Court on Wednesday that inheritance claims of four “she-males” had been determined in the districts of Rawalpindi, Sialkot and Okara.

AAG Hasan told the court that a member of the eunuch community from district Sialkot owned 26 kanals and one marla agriculture land in the revenue estate of village Nurpur (Sialkot) whereas two eunuchs also owned property rights in the district of Okara but have not yet received the inheritance. Similarly, the father of Faqir Shahzad has left a property in his native village of district Muzaffargarh. Shahzad is the only person who out of a total of 247 eunuchs living in Rawalpindi has inherited ancestral property.

The court was also told that the Punjab government had nominated Almas Bobby, president She-male Foundation of Pakistan, as the focal person of eunuch to interact with the provincial administration and other quarters concerned.

During the exercise in different districts of the Punjab, eunuchs said they were not facing any difficulty regarding property rights but complained about difficulties they were facing due to unemployment, low income, lack of necessities of life, including residential facilities, lack of protection and inhuman behaviour of police towards them.

The apex court ordered the Punjab government to submit a statement showing transfer of the title deeds in favour of these eunuchs who have inherited properties on November 14.

The four provincial chief secretaries and commissioner of Islamabad are required to submit details of initiatives taken for the welfare of the eunuchs on the next date of hearing.

A representative of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) informed the court that the authority had issued computerised national identity cards to eunuchs by identifying them as males in the gender section. He added that two jobs had been allocated for them at Nadra but they were still lying vacant as no eligible eunuch had so far approached the authority to apply for the post.

Meanwhile, Saeed Qureshi, a representative of the Sindh health department, told the court that the province had utilised the services of the eunuchs very effectively during the recent polio drive.

Almas Bobby conceded that some eunuchs had been given temporary jobs in Wasa of Sindh but highlighted the need for giving them permanent jobs.

At this, the chief justice observed that permanent jobs could be provided to the eunuchs provided they acquired education. The chief justice also observed that the constitution ensured protection to the rights and properties of every individual.

A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez acting on a private petition last December had directed all the district administrations in the country to help the eunuchs secure their shares in the family inheritance.

The issue cropped up when police raided the residence of some transvestites in Taxila and arrested them for living ‘a life of sin’.

That made Islamic jurist Dr Mohammad Aslam Khaki research the children born with confused gender and the life circumstances made them to live in.

Their pitiful life led Dr Khaki petition the Supreme Court to come to the rescue of the eunuchs.

Source: Dawn