The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has allegedly halted the registration of transgender people following a ruling of the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) against the provisions of the Transgender Rights Bill 2018, according to a media report.
The issue came to the fore after Nayyab Ali, the Transpersons Unit Head of the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR), visited the NADRA office in Islamabad’s Blue Area on Thursday to update her home address.
Ali was denied service on the grounds that the office’s system was unable to register trans and other gender identities. She has since formally filed a complaint, the report quoted a tweet by Ali.
She also stated that NADRA’s actions were unconstitutional and in direct violation of Article 46 of the Election Act 2017 and the Supreme Court ruling of 2018.
Article 48 of the Election Act 2017 states that “The Commission shall take special measures for the registration of non-Muslims, persons with disabilities and transgender citizens in the electoral rolls as voters.”
Ali told the media outlet that the director of the NADRA Minorities Desk had told her that as soon as a writ is filed against the FSC ruling it will automatically reverse NADRA’s actions as well.
According to Article 203-D of the jurisdiction of the FSC granted by the Constitution of Pakistan, “If the Court [FSC] decides that any law or provision of law is repugnant to the Injunctions of Islam, it shall set out in its decision that no such decision shall be deemed to take effect before the expiration of the period within which an appeal therefrom may be preferred to the Supreme Court or, where an appeal has been so preferred, before the disposal of such appeal.”
THE TRANSGENDER ACT
The National Assembly passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act in 2018 to give legal recognition to transgender people and ensure criminalisation of discrimination against them in all spheres of life.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018 and some of its provisions were declared incompatible with Sharia by the FSC earlier this year.
The FSC ruled that transgender people cannot refer to themselves as males or women and that the government must grant transgender people all legal protections.
The Court also declared that the Act’s Sections 2(f) (which defines “gender identity”) and 2(n)(iii) (which defines “Transgender Person”) violate Sharia.
The Transgenders Act’s sections 3 (recognition of the transgender person’s identity) and 7 (right to inherit) were likewise declared incompatible with Sharia by the FSC.
Earlier this month civil society and transgender rights activists, including Nayyab Ali and Muhammad Sarim Ali, submitted a petition against FSC’s ruling in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.