A Pakistani Supreme Court ruling has decreed that all members of Pakistan's hijras community should be registered as part of a government survey with the end goal of better integrating them into society, Basim Usmani reports for The Guardian. The word hijras is a blanket Urdu term that includes transvestites, transgendered people and eunuchs. The court ruled on a petition submitted by an Islamic lawyer, Dr Mohammad Aslam Khaki, following a police raid of a hijra colony in the historical city of Taxila.
Two of the three judges on the bench that ruled in favour if the hijra petition, chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry, were under house arrest for the better part of the past three years. This, coupled with the clobbering the police gave the lawyers during their demonstrations against the suspension of the judiciary in 2007, makes it easy to regard the hijra ruling as being directed against the police.
But that doesn't mean the current judiciary stands for greater gender equity either. Last May, one of the judges that also sat on the bench for the hijra ruling, Ijaz Chaudhry, banned the popular songstress Naseebo Lal from being played on the radio for singing vulgar songs.
Nevertheless, Usmani points out that the hijra community will at least be more recognized as a real group of people within Pakistan, especially following a hijra protest that was held following the court's ruling.