Transgender bill introduced in Pakistan parliament

The bill is the first piece of proposed legislation that extends recognition to this often-ignored segment of society, Dawn news reported.

August 10, 2017 04:27 pm | Updated 04:29 pm IST - Islamabad:

The Pakistan National Assembly in Islamabad. File photo

The Pakistan National Assembly in Islamabad. File photo

For the first time, a legislation has been introduced in Pakistan’s lower house of parliament to protect the fundamental rights of transgender people in the conservative Muslim nation.

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, moved by Naeema Kishwar on Tuesday, seeks to provide equal rights to transgender persons.

The bill is the first piece of proposed legislation that extends recognition to this often-ignored segment of society, Dawn news reported.

According to the statement of objects and reasons of the bill, “There is a need to safeguarded rights of transgenders at par with other citizens and residents of the country”.

“The Constitution of Pakistan explicitly provides, inter alia, the fundamental rights to life of liberty (Article 9), equality of citizen, (Article 25) and inviolability of dignity, safeguard to educational institutions in respect of education, protection of property, safeguard against discrimination in service,” it says.

It further says “the transgender persons constitute one of the most marginalised and disadvantaged communities in the country. They face problems ranging from social exclusion to discrimination, lake of protection in their family, community and the society”.

It was also mentioned that the Supreme Court passed a ruling in 2009 stating that no Pakistani laws provide room to disenfranchise ‘eunuch’ from their fundamental rights.

Despite the constitutional guarantees, it says, discrimination and atrocities against transgender persons were rampant.

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