Twitter users have slammed a sexist policy authorized by The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) after a user shared a screenshot of the message she received from the government organization that informed her that the husband was designated as the head of the household.
The user went on to criticize NADRA as she had not nominated her husband as the head of the household, per the message stated.
The user further went on to question how this policy would become a threat for women trying to escape abusive marriages, because their private information is being sent to their spouses without their consent.
Other women also slammed NADRA for refusing to recognize female agency, and pointed out how this policy alienates single parent households, especially with women who had escaped abusive relationships.
Sharing their experiences of being turned away from offices while applying for their CNIC card, female tweeps blamed the policy that demands that a male guardian verify themselves as the head of their household.
NADRA responded to the tweet by sharing that this policy was designed to guard family data from unauthorized access, because of which they had decided to inform the family head about procedures related to family data.
“It is one of the security features to guard family data from unauthorised access. In order to maintain the integrity of family data, @NadraPak informs every family head about any processing through which someone becomes part of his family.”
This tweet was bashed by Twitter users are regressive for refusing to recognize women as the head of their households, as activist and researcher Ammar Rashid tweeted that the government body should not have violated the privacy of women by leaking their data this way.
“Maybe @NadraPak should try to institute measures to confirm identities that don’t openly violate the constitutional right to privacy of adult female citizens? Other countries seem to be managing data security just fine without such archaic rules.”
Another user said: “A married woman is usually above the age of 18 and that makes her legally a citizen. She must have access to her OWN security features without having man govern her changes to the card.”
The Chairman of NADRA, Tariq Malik addressed the controversy in a tweet on Thursday, sharing that the policy did not discriminate against women from becoming the head of the household, and shared statistics that showed more women were nominated for this position than men.
“@NadraPak policy of declaring head of family is not gender specific. See thru lens of #realdata 28 million citizens declared their mother, 291,039 declared their sisters, 116,800 men declared their wife as head of family. And, 3.69 million females who are self head of family.”
Malik further went on to reveal that the backlash to this policy has encouraged the department to reform it in order to prevent discrimination of any kind:
“Declaring head of family is self reported event. I have directed our Public Engagement Department to sit down with social scientists and subject matter experts to bring reform in policies and SoPs. Suggestions welcomed. We have revamped quite a few since a year.”