IN THE MEDIA
PESHAWAR: For the first time in Pakistan, the only daughter of her parents on Friday moved the Peshawar High Court to seek an order to declare her entitlement to undergo sex reassignment surgery to change her gender from female to male.
Kainat Murad, 22, a resident of Peshawar, filed the writ petition through her lawyer Saifullah Mohib Kakakhel in the high court.
The petitioner also requested the high court to direct the hospital directors, including Lady Reading Hospital, Khyber Teaching Hospital or Hayatabad Medical Complex to provide free treatment through expert doctors to the petitioner for her gender reassignment surgery.
The petitioner also sought the court’s direction to the Nadra to change the name of the petitioner in official record from Kainat Murad to Muhammad Kaif, son of Waheed Murad.
It was submitted in the petition that she is the lone female child of her parents.
“My father is suffering from paralysis and has been jobless for more than a decade. We have no source of livelihood,” Kainat Murad claimed in the petition.
She revealed that since her birth in 1996, she was living a life of male child only wearing a veil of female body.
“I love to play sports, wear dresses of gents and all my friends are males with whom I play cricket. I ride motorbike and all my hobbies are gents related,” she stated in the petition.
It said that the petitioner is almost a male. It said the doctors advised her that she would undergo a sex reassignment surgery, which is very common in developed countries. However, few cases of the surgery have come to doctors in Pakistan.
Kainat Murad said the doctors advised her to approach the court and get permission for the surgery.
“Women’s rights violations are very common in developing and underdeveloped countries. Women cannot move freely from their house to their workplace. Moreover, they are not even safe at their workplace and are sexually harassed, humiliated and exploited on the ground of their sex,” the petitioner said.
The petition noted that there are numerous examples in which the gender was changed from female to male as some of them had genetic issues, while some underwent surgeries. “It is the legal and constitutional right of the petitioner to live of her own choice and change her gender from female to male by undergoing surgery,” the petitioner argued.
The public at large, federal government through federal secretary, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government through chief secretary, chairman Nadra, and hospital directors of LRH, KTH and HMC were made parties in the petition.
In a first case of its kind to come before Peshawar’s high court, a 23-year-old woman has asked for permission to undergo surgery to become a man.
“I’m not happy with the life of a woman as I cannot work openly like a man to support my family,” said Kainat Murad, who has been diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria, a condition in which a person persistently identifies with the opposite gender. Murad is an only child and her paralyzed father is unable to work.
“Since childhood, I’ve been living life like a male,” she has said in her petition. “I’ve played with boys and now I ride a motorcycle.”
Her lawyer, Saifullah Kakakhel, filed the petition on Friday, in which she seeks a court order to allow her to undergo Gender Reassignment Surgery.
Murad has asked the court to issue a directive for the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to change her name in its records to Muhammad Kaif.
In this country, she added in her petition, the protection against harassment of women laws has failed to protect women workers and women are not even able to raise their voices due social taboos. This is also why she wants to change her gender.
“I am almost a male. I’ve consulted doctors, though they have said that they can perform such a surgery but have cautioned that I have to get the high court’s permission before undergoing it,” her petition said.
Her lawyer told the court that her condition results in depression, anxiety and insomnia which can only be treated through the surgery. He added that while the surgery is not illegal in Pakistan it is considered a “shameful act”. He argued that it is the legal and constitutional right of every person to live life according to their own choices.
The petition also states that since Murad is poor she cannot undergo the surgery in a private hospital, therefore, she requests the court to also issue direction to a government-run hospital.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government through its chief secretary, the heads of the Lady Reading Hospital, Khyber Teaching Hospital and Hayatabad Medical Complex and Nadra’s chief are named as respondents in the petition.