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Khuwaja Sira Rights Movement - Challenges and Achievements:

By Noorilhuda

Thirty-seven year old Sanam Faqeer was born and bred in an area called Nawa Goth in Sukkur.
A Khuwaja Sira Mard (KSM) she looks like a pretty middle-aged woman, though she says she
has not had any work done to enhance her features - something one has to take with a pinch of
salt since members of Khuwaja Sira community may or may not divulge truth to people they
consider as outsiders. She says her father was an imam and a Syed Bukhari, that she has five
sisters and four brothers - all married and settled in various parts of Sukkur, Quetta and Karachi but she does not give the number of a single person who can verify it. She says she was
considered a boy till her brothers started taunting her over her peculiar mannerisms, so much so
that at the age of thirteen, she told her mother she wanted to leave the house and move to
Shamsabad, which is five minutes drive away from Nawa Goth, to live amongst people she
considered more friendly - people known as Khuwaja Siras. She says she got love and peace of
mind amongst KS community. She went from one guru to the other, both were Haji and
Namaazi, has done her bit of dance to earn money, getting Rs.400 or more per function. As she
acknowledges I am beautiful but not on top. Those days were also good, and this is a good time
as well. She later ventured into small business of buying and selling clothes for more settled
income. She says that she earned Rs.8-10 lacs in last 10-12 years through wholesale business of

selling clothes to women in mohallas and shopkeepers. Sanam takes great pride in her contacts
within the community and amongst shopkeepers. She also says that the work laid the foundation
for her charitable work towards old invalid KS as well as mentally handicapped people. As for
any problems she may or may not have encountered she shrugs it off over the phone by saying I
always say, even if you live amongst Jews, as long as you are well-behaved, their manners will
be good towards you too and you will be able to live well with them. It is hard to decipher
which one of her siblings she is still close to, but she did speak of a widowed sister whom she
used to send money.
In the past three years, Sanam Faqeer has collaborated with Social Welfare Department, Sindh on
their various health awareness schemes (polio etc.) and organized even a cricket match between
heterosexual men and KS which KS won! She registered an NGO Sanam Welfare Tanzeem and
opened up a computer literacy center for KS at her rented place in part through the money, one
lac twnety-thousand rupees, that SWD gave her. All this has been part of SWDs effort to get KS
community mobilized after the Supreme Courts historic judgment of 2009 which branded KS as
equal citizens of Pakistan. Now, Sanam Faqeer is stepping into another First: she just submitted
her nomination papers for Sindh Provincial Assembly for PS-I (the area Shamsabad comes
under). She gave Rs. 2000 to get the papers from District ECP office. Official figures may be
different, but Sanam says that there are 3500-4000 registered KS in Sindh alone out of which 55
are registered voters in Sukkur, out of which a nominal 15-20 exist in PS-I - but her standing in
elections has nothing to do with getting elected. She wants to make a statement - maybe even
garner two-minutes of fame and press - but most importantly she says It is our democratic right.
We also want to have our representation in the Assembly. I want to prove that even we can serve
the people; We are not just capable of begging and dancing, but rather we have a mind of our
own, just like anyone else.
As a Lahore-based KS, Nusrat Ara Aashi, head of Beghar Foundation, notes None of the
political parties have a wing concerning with us, or our rights, whereas all have special manifesto
pledges with respect to minorities.
Sanam will stand as an independent though PS-I usually votes for PPP and her favorite leaders
include Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.
NADRA has 1008 CNIC holders from Khuwaja Sira community. The Election Commission has
700 registered KS voters. Khurshid Alam, Deputy Director PR and Archive, ECP, and media
coordinator for the May 11th elections, explained over the phone how NADRA registers KS
members: Right now cards are issued under whichever category KS want and say they belong
to (i.e. Khuwaja Sira Mard, Khuwaja Sira Aurat or Khons-e-Mushkil); Those whose appearance
is male, and goes and claims that he/she is a man, his card will be issued under gender category

male. The one who comes to NADRA and has female appearance, says he/she is a woman, he /
she will be issued card as a woman; Then there are people who come to NADRA and say they
are KSM or KSA, their gender category will signify that; The last is Khons-e-Mushkil - but even
these cards are issued to whoever comes and says they are Khons-e-Mushkil.
KHYBER-PAKHTUNKHWA Male Eunuch 47; Female Eunuch 19; Khons-e-Mushkil 25;
Total 91; Voters 62
FATA Male Eunuch 11; Female Eunuch 6; Khons-e-Mushkil 14; Total 31; Voters 21
PUNJAB Male Eunuch 405; Female Eunuch 244; Khons-e-Mushkil 27; Total 676; Voters
SINDH Male Eunuch 84; Female Eunuch 44; Khons-e-Mushkil 25; Total 153; Voters 98
BALOCHISTAN Male Eunuch 17; Female Eunuch 21; Khons-e-Mushkil 12; Total 50;
Voters 37
GILGIT-BALTISTAN Male Eunuch 2; Female Eunuch 1; Khons-e-Mushkil ___ Total 3;
Voters ____
AZAD KASHMIR Male Eunuch 2; Female Eunuch ___; Khons-e-Mushkil 2 Total 4;
Voters ___
TOTAL Male Eunuch 568; Female Eunuch 335; Khons-e-Mushkil 105 Total 1008; Voters
As to the matter of which polling booth KS will vote in, Alam says that the ones bearing male ID
cards, will go to polling booth for men and so forth. There are 65,000 polling stations in the
country and only 700 KS voters. It is highly unlikely that we will have an untoward situation. A
separate counter can be created or one polling station can be fixed in a constituency where they
can go to vote. There is no restriction on their right to stand for elections either.
The fact that Khuwaja Siras are coming out and want to be taken seriously as stakeholders is an
achievement in itself. And to think that it took a random petition in 2009 that set the ball rolling
in the first place. In the beginning, even the judges were non-serious about the petition. Dr.

Aslam Khaki, points out while going through his files, in his office situated in F-10 Islamabad.
He ofcourse is referring to the Constitutional Petition no. 43 filed by him in 2009 in which he
asked for transgender communitys right to dignity, to inheritance, right to live with their parents
and some concrete action for their welfare. Everyone from the peon to the Bench thought
Khuwaja Siras were strange creatures and joked why I was so serious about their rights - hinting
as if I was a Khuwaja Sira as well!
In December 2009, CJ Iftikhar Chaudhary declared that Eunuchs are also citizens of Pakistan
and should be given basic fundamental rights guaranteed in the constitution. SC ordered certain
governmental departments (Departments of Social Welfare, Education and Health, NADRA,
ECP, Police) to take measures for protection of KS rights. This was also the start of judicial
monitoring of these departments - all subsequent SC hearings were merely Compliance
Reports detailing whether the said department had done the needful or not. The actions to be
taken were as follows:
Social Welfare Department: was asked to not only register the members of the community as a
process towards their census to determine their total population but also to provide facilities
for them for education (technical/ vocational) and to get medical certificates on the basis of
which their right to property could be ascertained - by writing to DCOs. They were told to
arrange for loans to be provided to KS so that they could start an independent business. In 2009
the authority lay with federal level; now there are provincial SWDs.
NADRA was authorized to issue cards to them as Khuwaja Sira Mard/ Khuwaja Sira Aurat on
the basis of medical tests.
ECP was told to register them as voters
Police were told to provide security to Khuwaja Siras against people who take benefit of their
sexual weakness; FIR could be registered directly with SC registrar as well.
Health Secretaries/ Departments: To provide free health care; free medical for HIV/AIDS,
tuberculosis, and hepatitis; To help them on priority basis and help them like Senior Citizens.
Education Secretaries/ Departments: To provide facilities to Khuwaja Siras interested in
getting education of any level: primary/ middle/ matric/college.
But when CJ exclaimed in SC three years ago, For Gods sake, make them respectable people
and not mere beggars. Bring them into the mainstream!, he misjudged the ground realities: The
pre-dominance of guru culture, internal wrangling of city-to-city gurus and inability of
governmental departments to bring KS into the fold of law and structured employment - but
most of all, there was miscalculation on they very nature, role and mindset of the KS in Pakistani

KS are mostly illiterate (though a few Zankas have studied till primary), they were exposed to a
sexually and emotionally exploitative environment of guru at an early age, they dont know what
to do with their lives, since they have never known a different way of being and are full of their
own language (farsi), their own code (youre either one of us or not) and their own defense
For example, before 18th Amendment, National Council for Social Welfare situated in G-7
Islamabad used to evaluate the NGOs registered under 1961 Act all across Pakistan. Since 18th
Amendment it is restricted to Capital Territory and comes under Capital and Administration
Ministry. Before SC ruling nothing had been done for Khuwaja Siras. Now there is awareness
in governmental departments. Just like before Zia-ul-Haqs daughter Zain, there were no special
education departments and everything was built overnight, similarly, before SC ruling I hadnt
heard of a KS NGO, there were none, said Dr. Fayyaz Bhatti sitting in his sparsely furnished
office in G-7 and originally interviewed late last year. Dr. Bhatti has since retired.
Indeed, as SWD-Islamabad found out, not much can be done without the acceptance and active
involvement of local or regional gurus. Dr. Fayyaz says, We were told to initiate welfare for KS
in March 2012; before then we didnt have the mandate; The problem is these people are just like
gypsies; They live near shrines; We wrote to our Ministry that before taking any welfare measure
we needed to know how many resided in Islamabad, whether they had ID cards, who has
property or not etc. and want to initiate a survey instead. We were given the go-ahead and task
was given to a human rights NGO who hired 5 anthropologists who went to Bari Imam to
interview the eunuchs.....Instead they were beaten up by Khuwaja Siras! There was mistrust
within the kS community as to the purpose of the study - they thought they were going to be
evicted. Some even asked for money to give replies saying why should we waste our time? So
SWD-Islamabad had to got through the local guru Bijli and it was eunuchs themselves who
interviewed and collected replies on questionnaire from KS. You have to involve gurus.
Otherwise you cannot enter, says Bhatti. The effort, Baseline Survey on eunuchs in ICT
20012 gives a bird eye view, first of its kind, into the lifestyle demographics of Islamabads
EUNUCH HUBS IN ISLAMABAD AND GURUS (source: Baseline Survey on Eunuchs in
ICT 2012):
Population in ICT: 800-900.
Questionnaire Respondents: 300.
Religion: 92% Muslims, 8% Christians.
Income: Begging earns them Rs.1000-1500/day;

Income from other means (dance, sex) requires distribution per rules which are 2 shares
for the eunuch, 2 shares for the guru and 2 shares for the grand guru.
Only 7% reported as having property.
Housing: Slums where 4-5 eunuchs will reside in a single house.
Most reported low incidence of sexual harassment, low %age of cogent money, and low rate
of medical check-ups and chronic sexual/other disease. Though no formal independent test
was done to check physical or mental health, the eunuchs described themselves as mentally
The areas of Islamabad were divided according to the guru ruling it:
Bari Imam (Guru: Mushtaq Bijli)
Meherabad (Guru: Shabana)
Golra Sharif (Guru: Shabbir)
Taramri (Guru: Gori)
Bara Kahu (Guru: Aruj)
Islamabad Expressway (Guru: Hina Pathani)
Christian Colony (Guru: Daisy)
100 quarters F-6 Slum (Guru: Daisy)
F-6/1 Slum (Guru: Shehzadi)
Sitara Market - G-7 Slums (Guru: Daisy)
Saidpur Village (Guru: Safdar Ghauri Hussain)
French Colony, F-7 (Guru: Daniel)
G-8 Karachi Company (4-5 active Gurus)
Tarlai/Ali Pur Farash (other gurus)
Infact Sanam Faqeer herself, is a guru with 4-5 chaylas, while she says the city of Sukkur has 6
gurus in all.
Getting accurate information about eunuchs also hit a roadblock in provincial SWDs attempts to
get eunuchs registered. An Action Aid Report (2010) laid out the number of KS who got
themselves registered with provincial SWDs who promptly submitted the numbers in SC: 275
KS in Lahore, 250 in Rawalpindi (Total 2500 in Punjab), 3500 in just Karachi, 324 in NW.F.P.
(now KP), 56 in Balochistan. This registration process started and ended in 2009 - because of
reluctance and non-cooperation of gurus to get KS registered as they were not sure of the
purpose or impact of the registration writes Nihal Hector, in the report. In the absence of any
figures available on state level, Dr. Khaki believes that Pakistan has 80,000 KSM/KSA while
Almas Bobby, the glamorous KSM frequenting the TV channels, put the figure around 500,000.

The influence of gurus is not limited to having a say in how chaylas will live their life. The cloak
of power extends to NGOs created for the welfare and outreach of KS. Ittehad Barai-Haqooq-eKhuwaja Sira Pakistan is a consortium of 13-14 KS organizations. Most of these are headed by
gurus from Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, some have their chaylas heading the local branches.
For example, Rawalpindi has 5 gurus. Each is running his/her own KS NGO, with and without
proper NGO registration: Rizwan-Bubbly (Khuwaja Sira Foundation), Salman-Iqbal-Shazia
(Moorat Foundation), Meera (Tehreek-i- Tahaffuz Khuwaja Sira), Reema and Almas Bobby
(Shemale Association of Pakistan). The guru wars extend to NGOs as well. As SWD-Punjabs
District Officer (Rawalpindi) Shafique Awan puts it Four of these NGOs are against Almas
Bobby, who herself sends chaylas to attend departmental meetings, rarely attending herself; Its a
turf war. Almas Bobby is not part of Ittehad consortium.
It looks like gurus wanting publicity and bigger platform on national stage all have developed
their own NGOs. This ensures two things: their value and hegemony in guru-chayla community
and maintenance of guru-controlled structure where chaylas work and give a certain portion of
their earnings (ranging from a few hundred rupees to thousands) to gurus and gurus get to sell
chaylas to each other for lacs of rupees.
SWD-Punjab started a vocational training center in Lahore and Rawalpindi for KS. To make the
program a success in Rawalpindi, SWD-Rawalpindi, Awan said that they have to pay RizwanBubbly Rs.5000 per student per month, so that he provides students from amongst his chaylas,
while the student will get Rs.500 as incentive. Rizwan-Bubbly denied the charge. Groomed in a
limited way, chaylas concept of what they can learn and how they can expand their horizon is
also limited. When we asked Rizwan-Bubblys chaylas what they wanted to learn, most of them
said they wanted to do make-up courses, or stitching clothes; On the other hand, Almas Bobby
asked all of her chaylas infront of us whether they wanted to study, and all of them said no and
she looked at us and said what can I do?, says Awan over the phone from his office near
Khanna Pul. Infact, when asked directly by me, Almas Bobby reasons No matter how much
money or inheritance they get, it is in their instinct to spend it on clothes and make-up - they
dont want to get an education, their instinct is to just dance; they cannot do anything else! It will
take a few generations to change that.
Provincial governments temporarily employed KS members in various health-care initiatives
such as loan recovery officers, malaria control program and tuberculosis eradication program
(SWD-Karachi; Health Departments in Hyderababd/Sukkur), as polio vaccinators all over
Pakistan and as peer educators in UNFPA-supported HIV/AIDS programs in Sindh - but these
were all temporary initiatives and KS NGOs demand permanent jobs. However, would a
Khuwaja Sira accept a job that pays only Rs.6,000/month when they are used to Rs.30K-plus
income is anybodys guess. As Nusrat Ara Aashi says, We used to get thousands through

dance performances, now the present government even put a stop to this form of earning by
banning functions to go on beyond 10pm.
There is no restriction on giving KS aid under Zakat/Ushr and Baitul Maal, and after the SC
ruling, financial assistance packages ranging from Rs. 5000 to Rs. 10,000 were available to KS
but no one availed the service - KS NGOs say no one provided them the benefit. If KS
community does not go and ask for provision of a service, it is doubtful they will ever get it on
their own doorstep. Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) is available only to women and
that also only to poorest of the poor people living under a certain bare minimum poverty scale.
There is no discrimination on that front. Loans worth Rs.25,000-Rs.50,000 are available to KS,
but as the Baseline Survey 2012 reveals, there is apprehension amongst KS how will they repay
the loans if business fails. They want to be treated as equal citizens but with special privileges
along the lines of disabled community and their job quota of 1% - 2 %. They want health benefits
like Senior Citizens. They want residential complexes. None of which has come about in the last
three years.
When anyone demands a special right on the basis of their uniqueness, one has to establish the
uniqueness first. The biggest change that led to better rights for women in 19th century Europe
was right to property - for the first time women could feel an identity and a place in society on
the basis of ownership rights. Voting rights came much later. Similarly, CJs original order to
grant KS their share in inheritance was an empowering move - that was not utilized by most of
the KS community. Even though Shariah And Fiqah is pretty clear on who gets what.
Allama Syed Izhar Bukhari is Chairman Zakat & Ushr Committee, Lalkurti and local KSM do
come to pray in his mosque, though none has ever asked for any money from his Committee.
None bury their dead in the local graveyard, preferring to take them to ancestral villages. God
has created everyone in the universe. Khuwaja Sira are also part of Ashraf-ul-Makhlooqaat and
humanity. The ones in whom male-characteristic is dominant (KSM), they will be treated as men
for the purpose of share in inheritance (2%), those in whom female-characteristic is dominant
(KSM) will be treated as women (1.5%), and those in whom neither of the two is dominant and
is unclear whether the person is male or female, then his/her upbringing and environment will be
seen as to whether his upbringing was more male or more female. Dr. Khaki puts it simply as
KSM will be treated as men; KSA as women and though Fiqah is quiet on Khunsa-e-Mushkil,
they can get share as relatives (.2% or .5%).
Khuwaja Sira NGOs are adamant that they dont want KS medically tested to properly determine
who is KSM and who is KSA and who is Khons-e-Mushkil. When NADRA had raised this issue
for registering ID card holders, NGOs in SC created hue and cry saying it was quite obvious they
were different. SC CJ asked NADRA officer whether similar medical test was done to determine

men and women and the reply was in the negative. CJ ordered that no testing will be done in the
case of KS either. Dr. Khaki feels that that was an emotional and wrong decision. For any quota
to be implemented, one has to know who one is applying it to; For example, if KS get a separate
reserved seat in Parliament, a special right is created. Any cross dresser can come in and claim he
is a KSM candidate - how will we know he is lying? Almas Bobby, a KSA, describes herself as
this: I am a man for Umrah/Hajj and for burial. But for everything else I am a woman. Her ID
card has male written under gender column.
As for all those wondering which is what, Khuwaja Siras (Eunuchs) are of three types:
Hermaphrodites (Khusna-e-Mushkil) in whom it cannot be biologically determined whether
they are male or female. These people are very rare in Pakistan and Dr. Khaki says they do not
even make 1% of the total transgender population in Pakistan. These are biological eunuchs-in
whom either both male and female genital organs are present or functional or a single one of
each. The second one are psychological eunuchs who are born as fully functional men but start
acting out feminine role after the age of 11-12; They want to sit with men, dress up and act like
girls do, and who run away to a guru who has only one function for them - working as dancers,
sex workers and beggars - for this they need to get changed - operated upon for castration,
silicone implants, hormonal injections, hormonal creams, so that they get female body parts and
lose hair on face and body quickly. This is where eunuchs transform from a purely transgender
being to transsexual one. But Fiqah defined Khuwaja Sira Mard as the one who has male area
of urination and Khuwaja Sira Aurat as the one having female area for urination.
Apart from hermaphrodites, classical definition of eunuchs includes Khuwaja Sira Mard and
Khuwaja Sira Aurat. KSM are of two types: 1) Hijras biologically incomplete men, with illformed genital organs (one testicle etc.) - this type cannot have kids since it does not have the
proper organs - they get these removed to become Khuwaja Sira Aurat, and 2) Zanka / Zenana
men who are biologically complete men and can have children, but dress and make-up as
women. The majority of Khuwaja Sira community in Pakistan consists of these two KSMs only.
The KSM organizations like the Islamabad-based Saffar believe that KSM who can have
children are the real/ original Khuwaja Siras - however it is a matter of opinion since they look
and sound like average gay men who only found Khuwaja Siras as receptive community within
their poverty-stricken social structure and adopted their life style. There is a division in the
Khuwaja Sira community and their organizations as to which type of KSM is real or pure or
natural eunuch. Both sides claim they are and the other is not! All the people interviewed for
this story claimed that most of the KS population was simply KSA who were originally KSM
and the rest were Zanka/Zenana.
Khuwaja Sira Aurat are usually women who do not get menstruation, their breasts are not fully
developed and they have a bone in the urine area. The pure KSA are not the ones we see on the

traffic signal junctions. It is all KSM either in their original incomplete-male-organ form or those
who have been castrated or Zanka/Zenana. As SWD-Rawalpindis Shakoor says Khuwaja Sira
will never agree to medical tests. None of them is real Khuwaja Sira; They are all self-made!
The reality is unless Khuwaja Sira come under the fold of law, confusion will persist and it will
be hard to integrate them in any form of social structure.
A Bill for Welfare of Khuwaja Siras was put forward in CAD Ministry in late 2012 that was to be
reviewed by all stakeholders (Ministries of law, finance, human rights, interior, religious affairs,
even Islamic Ideology Council) before being forwarded to Standing Committee of CAD - it has
yet to take off from the Ministry itself.
In any case, who will decide what constitutes welfare for the ostracized, disenfranchised,
illiterate, poor, sexually exploited and scarred community? Will it be the gurus with their own
territorial agendas? Will it be the government who has never understood nor cared for them? Will
it be the psychologists and social scientists who treat them as guinea pigs? Will it be the religious
leaders for whom these entities are debauched scoundrels? Or will it be the ordinary citizens who
are suspicious of them? Maybe Supreme Court can fix that too.