Religious parties set Oct 7 deadline to trans act

JUI-F moves Shariat court against ‘controversial’ bill


​ Our Correspondents October 01, 2022

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD:

Religious parties have rejected the transgender rights bill, while giving a deadline of October 7 to the federal government to withdraw it.

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq said that if the government does not show seriousness, all religious parties will protest at Shuhada Mosque in Lahore along with a large crowd.

Following a consultative meeting of religious parties in Mansoorah, the JI chief said that the bill is against the Holy Quran and Sunnah and against the Constitution of Pakistan. He termed it part of a western agenda, adding that three major parties were on the same page on the issue.

Siraj said that he was not against the rights of transgender persons, rather he was concerned that the controversial bill would destroy the family system.

The JI chief said that a gathering of all religious parties would be held on October 7.

He further said that the transgender rights bill is more dangerous than the atomic bomb dropped by the United States on Japan in 1945.

He added that he will contact Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Sajid Mir, Allama Nasir Abbas and other religious leaders on the issue.

Meanwhile, 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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