PESHAWAR: There is an important development Pakistan is going to have its census after 17 years of delay. There is no difference of opinion that without Census data, socio-economic planning is not much better than guesswork. According to the constitution of Pakistan there should be census in Pakistan after 10 years which would allow government, businesses, and others to take stock of the socio-economic health of the nation.
The Census (Population and Housing) is a Federal subject as listed at Sl. NO. 38 of Federal Legislation list, The seats in the National Assembly are allocated to each Province/FATA and Federal Territory on the basis of the population in accordance with the last preceding census officially published under Article-51(3) of the Constitution. Further, distribution of funds between the Federation and the Provinces are made through National Finance Commission. Article-160(2) speaks about the formation of the National Finance Commission which also uses census figures. The quota for recruitment to Federal posts is also worked out on the basis of population ratios as given by the census. Establishment Division’s O.M. No. 8/9/72, TRV, dated 31st August, 1973, refers in this regard. First 5 censuses were undertaken with the legal cover of Census Ordinance, 1959 amended from time to time. The 6th Population and Housing Census will be conducted under the legal cover of General Statistics (Re-organization) Act, 2011.
We have a very unfortunate situation here as the Census forms initially developed the Govt had column for transgender under disabilities to which civil society had shown lots of but amazingly now the Govt has just deleted the entire column and it only records male and female while there is no mention of intersexual and transgender. The provincial Alliance working for the rights of transgender “TransAction” have shown a high level of concern and disappointment on this situation. Farzana the president of the Alliance said that the census without documenting the trans papulation will wipe out the transgender/intersexual from the development agenda of Pakistan and will be the last nail in the coffin of efforts to bring up transgender as equal citizen of Pakistan”.
Paro a Trans Activist from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while expressing her views to media said “This act is in contradiction with the orders of high court. We are equal citizens of Pakistan and will file a petition in High Court Peshawar to safeguard our fundamental rights guaranteed in constitution of Pakistan” She moreover said “Uncounted means being overlooked, “and if you’re overlooked, you’re at greater risk of being underserved.” But how we count matters, too. National statistics are necessary to truly understand the number of transgender Pakistanis and their needs”
Qamar Naseem Coordinator of Blue Veins an NGO working to streamline the issues of Trans Papulation expressed disappointment on this situation. He said “You don’t have to be a transgender to be a supporter; you just have to be human. Government polices must instills that we “Leave No One Behind. It is time for Pakistan to promote inclusion, participation and individuality; it should also aim to empower and educate all people, regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or religion. Our should be based on universally acceptable standards of human rights”
Taimur Kamal Coordinator of the Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network while talking to media said “The inequalities and discrimination, affecting transgender, are also now prominent on the civil society agenda. They must not be left behind and there is need to address inequalities”
Zar Ali Khan of FATA commission for Human Rights said “ Reducing inequalities requires proactive policies and investments it require legislative and regulatory change and Pakistan need to change what needs to be changes.
THE PASHTUN TIMES