Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) presented a bill in the upper house of Parliament Senate seeking an amendment in the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018, for the creation of a medical board that would recommend “whether a person’s gender should change, instead of them seeking a reassignment on the basis of their personal identity”, reports Dawn.
The bill was presented by JI’s Senator Mushtaq Ahmad who recommended the formation of such boards at the district level comprising of a professor doctor, a psychologist, a male general surgeon, a female general surgeon, and a chief medical officer after the approval by the Prime Minister (PM) and provincial Chief Ministers (CM).
The proposed law also seeks a ban of gender reassignment surgeries or any other treatment to change genital features on the basis of “any psychological disorder or gender dysphoria”. It also states that the law in its present form could lead to the “legalisation of homosexual marriages”.
However, the present law states: “A person recognised as transgender shall have the right to get himself or herself registered as per self-perceived gender identity with all government departments including, but not limited to NADRA (National Database and Registration Authority).”
According to the JI, under the current law, a person could get themselves registered as a man or a woman not on the basis of their biology but their “personal thoughts”.
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari strongly opposed the proposed bill which was presented by JI and said the proposed amendment was aimed at “victimising” transgenders. She defended the current law and argued that it gave Transgenders Persons the right to identity.
“Till date, not a single complaint has been received regarding the misuse of this existing law,” she said.
JI and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) senators protested Mazari’s remarks, following which Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, sent the bill to the relevant standing committee for discussion.
According to data shared with the house, 16,530 cases of gender change from male to female were processed, 12,154 cases of female to male, 21 cases of transgender to male, nine cases of male to transgender and as many cases of transgender to female.
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