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PR Short Notes


Photo Source: Dawn

Pakistan Reader# 471, 14 December 2022

Federal Shariat Court emphasizes the need to protect transgender children in Pakistan



Chief Justice Anwer accentuates the worsening conditions of the transgender community

Avishka Ashok

On 13 December, the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) chaired a set of petitions that challenged the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018 and said that the children from the community were exposed to exploitation. The bench spearheading the hearing comprised of Chief Justice Dr Syed Muhammad Anwer and Justice Khadim Hussain. A member of the Khwaja Sira community also shed light on the worsening conditions of the community in Pakistan. The Chief Justice highlighted that the state holds a responsibility to protect transgender children from exploitation by criminals. CJ Anwer said, “It was unfortunate that these children were abandoned by their own families and as a result, they are abused by criminals and fall prey to paedophiles and other predators in our society.” Furthermore, CJ Anwer noted that the lives of transgender persons became more miserable as they grew older.  
 
The Ministry of Human Rights was unable to provide a satisfactory explanation to the conditions of the community. The Ministry is now tasked with finding an appropriate explanation to the situation until the next hearing and also provide a report by 15 December on the protection of children from the community. The Chief Justice reiterated Section 6(a) of the 2018 Act which hold the government and the Ministry of Human Rights responsible for the rescue, protection and rehabilitation of people from the community and also ensuring the availability of medical, psychological and counselling facilities.  
 
In the furtherance on ameliorating the conditions of the community, a bill seeking to amend the 2018 legislations has been initiated by Senator Fawzia Arshad of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in 2022. The amendment seeks to change the definition of “gender expression” and “gender identity” within Pakistan’s Constitution. Additionally, it seeks to remove sub-section 4 of Section 3 which says “a transgender person already issued an identity card by Nadra shall be allowed to change the name and gender according to his or her self-perceived identity on the CNIC, CRC, driving license and passport in accordance with the provisions of the NADRA Ordinance, 2000.” (“Condition of trans children ‘scar on society’: Federal Shariat Court,” Dawn, 14 December 2022; “Changes sought to make transgender rights law ‘more effective, worthwhile’,” Dawn, 27 September 2022) 

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