The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has abolished an âunofficial policyâ that required women to state their husbandâs name on their computerised national identity cards (CNICs) â a move that has drawn mixed responses from people.
NADRA Chairperson Tariq Malik announced on Friday at the Annual Rural Women Conference that women would be able to choose whether to place âdaughter ofâ or âwife ofâ on their CNIC after marriage.
They would also have the choice whether to add their husbandâs name as their surname, while retaining their fatherâs name in the mandatory field below. Malik said that there was an âunofficial policyâ in place that was enforced by those in charge of policy implementation.
He added that there was no legislation that could force a woman to take her husbandâs surname or require her to seek permission from her spouse before updating her CNIC. Malik said that those found in violation of the abolishment would be dealt with strictly.
Several on social media lauded NADRA for getting rid of the ‘archaic policy’. Vlogger Tehreem Bajwa applauded Malik for his resolve in giving women the right to make their own choices.
Kudos to Govt! Applause goes to @ReplyTariq for taking a significant step towards women empowerment.
Females can now choose to continue with their fatherâs name even after marriage or can mention the name of their husbands on CNIC if they want to.https://t.co/jGGYWZgwQY
— Tehseen Bajwa (@TBajwa7) October 17, 2021
Womenâs rights activist Fauzia Viqar said that the step was important to recognize women as independent citizens of the country.
Women now free to retain father's name on CNIC after marriage: Nadra chairperson
A small but very significant step towards recognition of women's independent citizenry
Read More at: https://t.co/grHhN39TJA
— Fauzia Viqar (@fauziaviqar) October 17, 2021
A user called it âgreat newsâ that women would be able to register with NADRA with whosever name they chose.
Good news! Women now have the authority to register themselves with their father's or husband's name.https://t.co/jNXSVa1euH
— Usama Mustafa (@UsamaMus) October 18, 2021
Another user, who seemed to be slightly on the fence, said the amendment meant that womenâs âownershipâ would not be changed from one patriarch to another.
Now OWNERSHIP of a woman wouldn't transfer from one patriarch to another, at least on identity document.
Women now free to retain father's name on CNIC after marriage: Nadra chairperson https://t.co/unGrvn3vtX
— Bakhtawar (@BakhtawarJav3d) October 17, 2021
Others were not convinced by the policy change for various reasons. One man said that a womanâs association to her father doesnât change after marriage but removing the husbandâs name might make him escape the responsibilities he had towards his wife.
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— Dr Hamdard ð (@DrHamdard47) October 17, 2021
The same user furthered that there was no âfunâ in getting married to a man whose name you couldnât take after marriage.
You are free to have your opinion.
If a man is not liked enough so that his name is not supposed to be written on passport or CNIC then what's fun of living with him???
Marriage or divorce does not remove association of daughter with her father. She remains in his family tree.
— Dr Hamdard ð (@DrHamdard47) October 17, 2021
Research Analyst Jawwad Chaudhry chimed in and said that women typically took their husbandâs names so they could travel freely in the country, as they could face resistance with their fatherâs names only.
Women take their husband's names on CNIC because they want to travel freely in the country. If their father's name is written on their NIC, it becomes difficult for them to travel with their husband to give proof to authorities.
— Jawwad Chaudhry ðµð° (@JawadSChaudhry) October 17, 2021
A user pointed out that women would still need their husbandâs name to be able to go for hajj and umrah, unless Saudia Arabia itself changed its rules for female participation in religious rituals.
Women dont get visa for umrah or huj if they r married and husbands name not at CNIC .. So i think women have to keep husband name when it comes to ritual/religious purpose unless u convince saudia to ammend the said condition.
— Farhin Khanðµð° (@careconsultantt) October 17, 2021
As the news broke, some misinformation spread that woman would not be forced to take their husbandâs surname by NADRA workers. NADRA has already allowed women to retain their fatherâs name as their surname. The new policy would merely mean that women could choose whether to add their husbandâs or fatherâs names as their male relative on their CNIC.
Some clarity on Nadra story. This isn't about surname but about Daughter of/Wife of field.
Earlier, it was mandatory for married women to add W/o to CNIC upon change in marital status due to algorithmic bias.
Now, they can retain D/o OR change to W/o.https://t.co/xZYBrYoHQ2
— Qurat ul ain (@quratula1n_s) October 17, 2021