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Tuesday, June 25, 2024  
18 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Council of Islamic Ideology deliberates transgender law to withdraw rights

Some of the lawmakers believe the law should be limited to intersex people
A CNIC issued to a khawajsira in Balochistan.
A CNIC issued to a khawajsira in Balochistan.

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on Tuesday opened a key meeting to deliberate the transgender law passed in 2018 by the Parliament. Some of the lawmakers want to amend the law to withdraw key rights given to transgender persons.

The “Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018” was seen as a major human rights milestone in Pakistan when it was passed since the law accepts the notion of ‘gender expression’ and allows intersex and transgender persons to identify as a separate gender, which is marked with an X on the CNIC.

However, lawmakers led by JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmed believe only intersex persons should be given rights under the law since their reproductive anatomy doesn’t fit the typical definitions of male or female. They believe transgender people — who perceive their gender to be different from the sex they were assigned at birth but have no physical evidence of this gender identity — suffer from a mental illness that should be purged.

The meeting on Tuesday began under the CII Chairman Qibla Ayaz and it will last for two days.

Experts from different walks of life have been invited to the meeting, Aaj News reported.

In September 2022, the CII ruled that some of the provisions of the law were not compatible with the Shariah.

The Council said the law, as it stood, could lead to “new social problems”.

Pakistan’s Khwajasira community, which includes both transgender and intersex people, and rights activists are resisting the attempts to change the law. They have held demonstrations in different cities in the past few months.

Khwajasira hold protest at Multan press club against plans to amend the transgender law on Monday, September 19, 2022. PHOTO PPI
Khwajasira hold protest at Multan press club against plans to amend the transgender law on Monday, September 19, 2022. PHOTO PPI

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