Peshawar: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister for the social welfare department has presented a bill for setting up an endowment fund for the welfare of transgender persons in the province.
KP Government took the lead in fulfilling the needs of the transgender community presented in this new law and became the first provincial govt in Pakistan. Section 3 of the proposed law sets up a transgender persons welfare endowment fund with an initial capital of Rs100 million.
Under Section 4, the fund will be utilized for the welfare activities of transgender persons to bring them into the mainstream. Besides, it will also provide financial assistance and small-scale interest-free loans to transgender persons for small entrepreneurship and business development. In addition, the other uses of the fund are the training of government officials for sensitization to the transgender person issues, creating awareness of the welfare and acceptance of the transgender persons in the society through print, electronic and social media, workshops and seminars, carrying out research, and proposing a mechanism for the welfare of transgender persons.
Also, a management committee shall be formed for action on the bill’s objectives. It will be headed by the director of the social welfare department and will receive applications through the district officer (social welfare) from the transgender persons for financial assistance. Besides, it will also scrutinize those applications to grant financial assistance to transgender persons.
Qamar Naseem, a transgender rights activist and Program Manager of Blue Veins (an organization leading the transgender rights policy campaign), said,” KP government & Social Welfare Department deserve a huge appreciation for making efforts to bring transgender persons into the mainstream by creating an endowment fund. It will help them escape the vicious cycle of poverty”.” It is encouraging that the government is listening. The time has come to look beyond the binary gender construct of ‘male’ and ‘female’. KP will soon introduce the provincial Transgender Protection Bill 2022” he added
Nayyab Ali, internationally renowned transgender rights expert and laureate of the Franco-German Prize for Human rights & rule Law expressed her views after witnessing the proceeding of the KP Assembly. She said that today is the big day in the history of Pakistan and globally that we are the first country to have two laws to protect transgender rights and their empowerment. I feel proud that I have also contributed to developing this legal framework after Federal Law. Now next turn will be in Sindh and Punjab provinces. Indeed, this law is a global model which should be replicated across the nation. I feel honored to have made history along with my mentor Qamar Naseem. This is just the beginning. There is more to come soon.
Farzana Jan, president of Transaction (Provincial Alliance of Transgender Community, Said) “ Creating an endowment fund for the transgender community is huge progress and success of KP government. Transgender people face high rates of violence in KP; economic empowerment of the transgender community, who are the most vulnerable, is a must to bring the transgender community into the national mainstream.”