The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) of Pakistan has ruled that a person is not a transgender person solely based on how they perceive their gender.
Tuesday, a case contesting the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018, was heard by a two-member bench presided over by Acting Chief Justice (CJ) of the FSC, Dr. Syed Muhammad Anwer.
In the meanwhile, the court allowed the requests made by Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Farhatullah Babar of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and transgender rights advocate Almas Bobby to join the case as parties and ordered them to provide written reports.
The Ministry of Human Rights’ (MoHR) legal counsel claimed that the ministry’s (MoHR) sole duty is to carry out the legislation and made it clear that it plays no part in the legislative process.
According to CJ Anwer, just as someone wouldn’t identify as a blind person by closing their eyes, neither can someone who calls themselves transgender. He emphasized once more that transgender people’s rights are the key concern.
Pakistani journalist Orya Maqbool Jan briefed the court that the measure had been approved by the National Assembly (NA) with only three lawmakers opposing it and demanding that it be sent to the appropriate committee for assessment.
Babar claimed to have participated in the legislative process and intended to inform the court about the goal of the law and the parliamentary debate around it. He disclosed that the bill that was ultimately enacted into law was a combination of three different legislation.
Imran Shafiq, the counsel for Senator Ahmad and the JI, informed the Senate that a new bill had been submitted, and he claimed that no one should be able to alter their gender at will.
A lawyer for an NGO further argued that this act included a number of unique problems and noted that it was a congenital condition that could be fixed and that their group has helped a large number of patients.
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