Islamabad: Nayyab Ali, Executive Director of Transgender Rights Consultants Pakistan (TRCP), expressed deep concern over the Federal Shariat Court’s decision to overturn Pakistan’s first Transgender Rights Protection Act.
The court’s ruling deemed the legal recognition of transgender individuals based on self-perception as contrary to Islamic principles. Despite this setback, Ali affirmed the community’s unwavering resolve to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
Saro Imran, a young transgender entrepreneur, highlighted the long-standing history of the Khawaja Sarah community and their spiritual connection to gender identity. Imran emphasized the community’s resilience throughout history, including facing colonial-era discrimination and surviving attempts to eradicate their existence.
The Federal Shariat Court’s ruling in 2023 is seen as a continuation of this marginalization, but the community remains determined to overcome these challenges.
Human Rights Advocate Haider, involved in the Federal Shariat Court case, acknowledged the Khawaja Sarah community’s ongoing struggle for their rights. Haider expressed disappointment in the withdrawal of support by those who initially championed the Transgender Rights Protection Act, citing political convenience as the motivation.
Religious parties, including the JUI-F, were highlighted for their contradictory stance on the Act, raising concerns about shifting public opinion and wavering support.
Sherkan Malik, a human rights activist and journalist, clarified that the Federal Shariat Court’s decision does not have immediate legal effect. According to the Constitution, the court’s ruling must undergo an appeal process within six months before potentially revoking the community’s existing rights under the Act.
Malik emphasized the need for the government and people of Pakistan to stand against this injustice and ensure the preservation of transgender rights.
Zara Naz, President of Transgender Rights Consultants Pakistan (TRCP), issued a call to action, urging the Federal Government, the Province, and the People of Pakistan to unite against this historic injustice.
Naz highlighted the struggles faced by the Khawaja Sarah community, from violence and discrimination to the loss of transgender lives. She appealed to the people of Pakistan to join the community in their ongoing struggle for human rights, fostering a brighter and inclusive future for all.