JUI-F moves Shariat court against transgender act

Party chief claims law is against Islam, says he will submit amendments to parliament


Our Correspondent September 30, 2022
JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman. PHOTO: INP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), an ally of the government and part of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), has challenged the Transgender Protection Act, 2018, in the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) on Friday.

In the petition, the JUI-F requested that the act be declared against Shariat, adding that “no law can be made against Quran and Sunnah in the country”.
The FSC fixed the party's application for a preliminary hearing on Monday, October 3.

On September 26, the Transgender Act Amendment Bill 2022 related to the protection of transgenders had been presented in the House by PTI Senator Fauzia Arshad and was then handed over to the relevant Standing Committee by the Chairman Senate.

In recent days, the high-level meeting of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) also said that the transgender law may cause new social problems and that several provisions in the act as a whole are not compatible with Shariah principles.

The recently passed Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act by the National Assembly was enacted in 2018. The law allows transgender persons equal rights to education, basic health facilities, writing their transgender identity on their identity cards and passports, besides the right to vote and contest elections.

However, some religious parties are of the opinion that this bill is actually an attempt to give legal protection to homosexuality in the country. Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has also challenged the law in the Shariat court.

Earlier, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, head of the JUI-F, had also said that the “law is against the teachings” of the Holy Quran and Sunnah and had added that he will submit amendments to it in parliament.

Jamaat-e-Islami leader Sirajul Haq had also stated that the Act was against Islamic Sharia.

The trans community of Pakistan had said that false propaganda was unleashed against the Transgender Protection Act, lamenting that labelling those fighting for equal rights for trans people as homosexuals was tantamount to committing cruelty against them.

Amid criticism of the law by some religious parties, which perceive it as an attempt to give legal protection to homosexuality, trans people say that the 2018 act neither mentions any kind of sex change nor did it allow ‘unnatural’ sex.

“There is no mention in this 11-page act that a man can marry another man or a woman can marry another woman,” transgender rights activist Zanaiah Chaudhry had told The Express Tribune while commenting on the criticism of the law.

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