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HomeNationalWomen being allowed to retain father’s name on CNIC draws applause and...

Women being allowed to retain father’s name on CNIC draws applause and skepticism

NADRA announces women free to decide whether to register using father or husband’s name after marriage

The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has abolished an ‘unofficial policy’ that required women to state their husband’s name on their computerised national identity cards (CNICs) – 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 ‘daughter of’ or ‘wife of’ on their CNIC after marriage.

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They would also have the choice whether to add their husband’s name as their surname, while retaining their father’s name in the mandatory field below. Malik said that there was an ‘unofficial policy’ 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 husband’s 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.

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Women’s rights activist Fauzia Viqar said that the step was important to recognize women as independent citizens of the country.

A user called it ‘great news’ that women would be able to register with NADRA with whosever name they chose.

 

Another user, who seemed to be slightly on the fence, said the amendment meant that women’s ‘ownership’ would not be changed from one patriarch to another.

Others were not convinced by the policy change for various reasons. One man said that a woman’s association to her father doesn’t change after marriage but removing the husband’s name might make him escape the responsibilities he had towards his wife.

The same user furthered that there was no ‘fun’ in getting married to a man whose name you couldn’t take after marriage.

Research Analyst Jawwad Chaudhry chimed in and said that women typically took their husband’s names so they could travel freely in the country, as they could face resistance with their father’s names only.

A user pointed out that women would still need their husband’s name to be able to go for hajj and umrah, unless Saudia Arabia itself changed its rules for female participation in religious rituals.

As the news broke, some misinformation spread that woman would not be forced to take their husband’s surname by NADRA workers. NADRA has already allowed women to retain their father’s name as their surname. The new policy would merely mean that women could choose whether to add their husband’s or father’s names as their male relative on their CNIC.

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