Stories about NADRA

Our first transgender model and other milestones for Pakistan

As Indian activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi stomped the runway at the Lakme Fashion Week, US athlete Chris Mosier appeared in a Nike advertisement, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shared an iftar meal with a transgender celebrity, a change has been brewing globally this year. But there’s still so much activism, action and inertia that is still needed in Pakistan. Let’s recount some of the trailblazing moments that shook the Pakistani society, empowering the notions surrounding transgender persons: June 2009 In order to ensure their rights, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the first census for transgender people to take place. However, ...

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Dear God, where’s my T-shirt?

Dear God, I have a serious complaint to make. You must know… but of course you do… that there are now T-shirts out there with that man Raheel’s picture on them. God, this is too much! I am the PM not he! Why have you allowed this to happen?? Please God, remember that I am still weak although I don’t look it, because I have just had a very big operation and although many people don’t believe it (they say I went to my London apartment in Mayfair… how delicious that sounds… just to hide when that stupid Panama information leaked out but you ...

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Why are arms and ammunitions so easily available in Pakistan?

As per a recent news report, over 170,000 of the total 352,000 licenses in Pakistan could not be verified by NADRA. Acquisition of arms and ammunition in Pakistan has never been a problem for applicants who know the various back door options available in the market. Unless there is a blanket ban on issuance of new arms licenses, a common citizen bearing a computerised national identity card, can get more than one arm license issued under his/her name of various non-prohibited or prohibited calibers  if he/she has a direct connection in the federal interior ministry. Background interviews with some prominent arms dealers in ...

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The 13 stages of visiting a NADRA office

We’re all accustomed to that dreadful trip to NADRA that we’ve delayed for far too long. Why dreadful? Here’s a list to jog your memory. Stage 1: Mild panic You’re told that the B-Form you have used for the past 10 years is no longer valid; now you need the digital one. Or your ‘digital’ ID card is no longer digital, or your child is 18. That’s right, now you need to visit your nearest NADRA office. Stage 2: Determination You call the helpline and a polite customer services representative answers all of your questions in great detail. You begin to hope. You have ...

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Why can’t Pakistani women wear niqabs if they don’t want to be stared at?

Dear Express Tribune (ET), (or should I say Sexpress tribune?) Here I was, browsing the internet while feeling very offended that the government had passed a ‘Women Protection Bill’, when I came across your latest liberal agenda spewing blog, titled, ‘Why can’t Pakistani men stop staring at women?’ This article made me so angry. The last time I felt so upset was when I spent seven and a half hours on Sunday pouring over every image and video on Qandeel Baloch’s Facebook page. That day I was so livid, I left comment after comment on her posts, asking her to cover ...

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Dear Nergis, with love, from Pakistan

Dear Nergis Darling, We are very happy to know that you have become super famous and that you were born in Karachi. In order to create a ‘usable’ past, we somehow distinctly recall that while you were growing up in Karachi, we were certain that teaching you sciences, and physics in particular, along with the rigors of the scientific method which is what we do best in the schools of Pakistan, especially, girls’ schools. Therefore, we would like to take full credit for your achievements, especially those that have made you famous. The rest we neither know nor care about. We are ...

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How NCA broke societal barriers by redefining transgender roles in Pakistan

The arts being an unconventional career choice in a society that still views the holy trinity of business, medicine and engineering as the only acceptable professions, artists are more attuned to the plight of those struggling against stereotypical expectations. Perhaps that is why the recent initiative taken by the National College of Arts (NCA), Rawalpindi, to employ members of the transgender community at the college, has been received with such warmth by students and faculty alike. People are recognised in society by their professions. Pursuing the career of your choice can be a priority over a vocation with better financial remuneration. Veena, a ...

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For PTI, it’s either ‘yes’ to by-elections or ‘bye’ to elections

Imran Khan had sought investigation in four constituencies to ascertain whether the General Elections 2013 (GE 2013)were rigged or manipulated. Election tribunals have ruled in favour of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Inshaf (PTI) in three out of four ‘sample’ constituencies handpicked by the PTI chairman. Imran also demanded for the formation of a Judicial Commission (JC) to probe rigging in the GE 2013 on an overall basis. A JC was formed and no rigging or manipulation was proven. In its report, the JC rejected all allegations of planned rigging but pointed out grave irregularities by the Election commission of Pakistan (ECP). Of the three election tribunals that ruled in favour of PTI candidates, ...

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The end of Afghan Basti: It was all they had

Last week, Islamabad High Court judge, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui ordered the removal of illegal settlements in I-11 area of Islamabad. The judgment summarised that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had allotted plots in the I-11 Sector, and therefore the settlements established there were violating the rights of the land owners and resultantly had to be removed. Strangely enough, however, the voters list of 1985 had the names of the inhabitants of the Afghan Basti (settlement) as eligible voters while the plots were allotted a year later in 1986. How could Afghans be registered voters? Well, it seems that the name is a misnomer because the population ...

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Life as Faiq by day, Aashi by night

Aashi, a transgender who is Faiq by day and Aashi at night, says, “Living a discrete life is not everyone’s cup of tea.” It was an uphill task getting in touch with a person from this community who would willingly sit down and disclose the issues they face every day without much exaggeration and clichéd responses. We searched for one such individual from traffic signals to the slums of Karachi and eventually through a reliable source, we managed to reach Faiq’s apartment in a posh neighbourhood of Defence in Karachi. Faiq was expecting us and greeted us with warmth and with great courtesy, which ...

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