In its determination the court found that “the Islamic teachings do not allow individuals to change their gender at their own will
Islamabad, Pakistan – The Federal Shariat Court ruled May 19 to enact revocation of sections of the country’s Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, of 2018.
According to Pakistan media outlet ARY, the acting Chief Justice Syed Muhammad Anwar and Justice Khadim Hussain of the Federal Shariat Court Islamabad delivered the verdict that sections 2(f), 3 and 7 of the Transgender Act 2018 are against Islamic teachings, while Section 2(n) of the Transgender Act is not contrary to Sharia.
In its determination the court found that “the Islamic teachings do not allow individuals to change their gender at their own will. The verdict further maintained that an individual’s gender shall remain the same as assigned at birth.”
“This verdict is a blow to the rights of the already beleaguered group of transgender and gender-diverse people in Pakistan. Further, some of the observations made by the Court were based on presumptive scenarios rather than empirical evidence. The denial of essential rights of transgender and gender diverse persons should not be guided by assumptions rooted in prejudice, fear and discrimination,” Rehab Mahamoor, a spokesperson for Amnesty International, said in a statement.
The court’s ruling comes three months after the first trans female anchor on the independently owned and operated Kohenoor News Network escaped serious injury after two gunmen opened fire as she was returning to her residence after a trip to a local pharmacy.
Marvia Malik, who had made history in the conservative Muslim-majority nation as the first openly trans person on a television channel in 2018, told police investigators that she believed her activism LGBTQ+ rights was a “major factor” behind the assassination attempt citing several threatening calls prior to Friday’s attempt on her life.
The court’s ruling emphasized that gender cannot be determined solely based on feelings. The justices also noted that in the court’s opinion, the 2018 Act could pave the way for rape, and sexual assault of women as they allege the law “makes it easy for a man to gain access to exclusive spaces intended for women, disguised as a transgender woman.”
There is no publicly available evidence of such incidents taking place in Pakistan.
Pakistan is a country that is notorious for its human rights violations, and the LGBTQ and intersex community is one of the most vulnerable groups in the country. Despite the challenges, the community is fighting for their rights and slowly making progress.
Since homosexuality is illegal in Pakistan, the LGBTQ and intersex community is often forced into hiding. This makes it difficult to estimate the size of the community, but it is thought that there are tens of thousands of LGBTQ and intersex people living in Pakistan. Many of them live in wealthy areas of Karachi, the country’s largest city, without fear, as do community members in similar parts of Pakistan.
by Brody Levesque
Source – The Los Angeles Blade