Pakistan Reader# 600, 20 May 2023
On 20 May, Chief Justice of the Federal Shariat Court in Pakistan and Justice Khadim Hussain declared certain sections of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018 as against Islamic teachings. The court concluded that the use of the term "transgender" to define gender identity based on self-perceived identity, contrary to biological sex, goes against Islamic principles.
The court argued that various Islamic practices and obligations, such as prayers, fasting, and inheritance distribution, are based on biological sex rather than gender identity. The court also highlighted that the inclusion of different terms in the definition of "transgender person" in the act led to confusion and conflated various concepts.
The ruling expressed concerns about potential violations of privacy and the possibility of criminals exploiting the law to gain access to spaces designated for females. It stated that determining gender identity based on self-perception could lead to socio-religious societal problems. The court deemed certain sections, including those related to changing gender identity on official documents and inheritance rights, as incompatible with Islamic teachings.
The transgender community and Amnesty International have criticized the decision of the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) to strike down several clauses of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018. The transgender community considers it an” attack on the rights of the transgender community by religious parties.” Sara Imran, a successful business person emphasized that the transgender community has existed since ancient times, and laws have been established to ensure rights and safety for all communities she said: “We speak of the rights of the birds and animals as well as environmental protection.” The community plans to appeal the decision, and public opinion supports their cause. Amnesty International emphasized that denying transgender people their rights go against international human rights laws and increases the risk of harassment and discrimination.
Nasir Iqbal, “FSC strikes down transgender law for being ‘against Islam’,” Dawn, 20 May 2023
Kaibe Ali, “Shariat court’s decision termed ‘attack on human rights of transgender persons’,” Dawn, 20 May 2023