The government said associating transgender to homosexuality is a’misconception’

The Minister for Law, Azam Nazeer Tarar, refuted criticism of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act on Thursday, stating that “certain friends” had created a misunderstanding that the law had opened the door to homosexuality and was contrary to Islamic precepts.

In 2018, the National Assembly approved the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act to offer legal recognition to transgender individuals and ensure that discrimination against transgender individuals in numerous spheres is criminal.

The law was created after the Supreme Court declared on Sept 25, 2012, that eunuchs were entitled to all the rights granted by the Constitution and enjoyed by other members of society.

However, the law has recently been rejected by various segments of society. On Wednesday, at a press conference, JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman stated that the organization opposes Islamic injunctions.

“Our team is now preparing a document that will shortly be presented to the assembly. No legislation that contradicts the spirit of the Quran and Sunnah would be permitted to pass, as the parliament has no authority to pass such legislation”, he stressed.

Today, at a press conference alongside Qamar Zaman Kaira, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, Tarar stated that the measure was passed by the Senate and National Assembly in the presence of religious and political leaders.

“Whenever a law is passed, there is always the possibility of its weakness or abuse.” Similarly, concerns began to arrive after two years over a provision stating that sections 3 and 4 may be abused.

The minister clarified that according to the parts above, transgender individuals might “declare their genders” on their identity cards after reaching 18.

“For example, when we fill out our paperwork, we indicate whether we are male or female […] God has protected us from those disabilities […] therefore they had the right […] a space was developed for them […] transgender he or she”.

Azam later reported that an amendment was introduced. “JI Senator Mushtaq Khan stated that the section allowing transgender applicants to indicate their gender […] should be changed and made contingent upon the medical board’s assessment.”

This issue, he continued, was being discussed in the parliament. The minister stated that two petitions were submitted to the Federal Shariah Court shortly after that. “The primary duty of the shariah court is to determine if a law violates the shariah and Islamic values.”

Tarar disclosed that the administration has also submitted replies to the petitions.

However, he stated that “some acquaintances” distorted the truth and claimed that the law encouraged homosexuality. It is also believed that the entirety of the law is harmful.

Tarar then outlined the contents of the law, beginning with the definition of a transgender person and arguing that “nowhere does the law indicate that anyone can be transgender.”

“The first two provisions are being viewed separately in light of the registration issue.”

Additionally, there were two clauses concerning recognition and identification. However, he said the case would not be altered until the sharia court has rendered its judgment.

Tarar added that the bill also addresses discrimination, sexual harassment, the right to inherit, education, health, and employment for transgender people.

“I’m speaking with you today because it’s not about those disputes; it’s about the Constitution, the law, sharia, and human rights.”

“We suggest that you further disseminate this message. And I expect the Pakistani people to [understand] that these people [transgender individuals] are Pakistanis and part of the community […] we can at least view them in a way that does not abuse their rights,” the minister stated.

In contrast, Kaira of the PPP stated that the law was not new and had been passed in 2018. “There is no need to make a fuss over it. Today, social media has become a platform for fake news and is used to polarize the nation.”

He stated that the classification of gender in the statute was “if anything, a step in the right direction.”

“Should this not be done, these items could be exploited. And there is also the substantial issue of inheritance […] Consequently, this amendment was adopted to eliminate all of these anomalies. We believe this should be acknowledged.”

Kaira stated that transgender activists also demanded the amendment.

They are our offspring. They are members of our family. Therefore, they cannot be excluded or disowned.”