Shariat Court scolds JUI-F over trans act

Asks party to explain rationale behind moving court after five years after passing it


Our Correspondent October 03, 2022
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) on Monday expressed its displeasure over the JUI-F’s move to file a petition against the transgender law after five years, asking the party to explain what took it so long to wake up to the problems in the legislation it had also supported.

The court remarked that it seemed that the party had not read the law before lending its support to it and stressed that instead of amending the bill in the parliament, the JUI-F has approached the court now that other similar pleas were also piling up against the act.

Acting Shariat Court Chief Justice Dr Syed Mohammad Anwer heard a set of petitions challenging the Transgender Protection Act, 2018, on grounds that it was “repugnant to Islamic injunctions”.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl an ally of the government and part of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), recently challenged the transgender rights bill the FSC.

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”.

During the hearing on Monday, JUI-F’s lawyer Kamran Murtaza said that other petitions against the transgender law are already under hearing, prompting the acting chief justice to inquire what part of the JUI-F’s application made it different from others.

Read more: JUI-F moves Shariat court against transgender act

Kamran Murtaza explained to the court that he wished to represent his party in the case.

The acting chief justice asked whether JUI-F was involved in the approval of the law in the parliament, to which the lawyer replied in affirmative.

“If you had allowed the law to pass, then what do you seek from the court now? Was it not JUI-F’s responsibility to review the laws before passing them?” Acting Chief Justice Dr Syed Mohammad Anwer asked.

“The JUI-F is suddenly prompted to move the court against the law and identifying problems in it after the passage of five years now that dozens of petitions have been already filed,” he observed.

The lawyer maintained that the party has challenged the provision that allows an individual to change gender.

However, the acting chief justice remarked that the provision the party was referring to was wrong, adding that it seemed that the party has not read the law “and you have come to the court instead of bringing an amendment in the parliament”.

At this, Kamran Murtaza maintained that an amended bill has also been submitted in the parliament.

He also admitted that there was a delay in approaching the court against the law.

The acting chief justice noted that the party should have spoken up about it in the parliament instead of coming to the court.

Subsequently, the court clubbed the JUI-F’s petition against the legislation with other similar petitions and adjourned the hearing on all applications till October 18.

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