JI demands debate on gender change


Pakistans largest religious political party, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has presented a bill, seeking an amendment in the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act 2018 and has called for formation of a medical board to justify if a person should go through a gender change or seek reassignment with reference to ones identity.

The bill, presented in the upper house (Senate) demands a debate on the matter and want to amend the law along with a formation of a gender reassignment board, which should work with the country’s National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA).

The law, as it currently stands, states: “A person recognized 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.”

The JI’s proposed amendment bill opposes this provision of the constitution and calls for formation of a gender reassignment board to suggest to NADRA, which should decide if a person can go through a gender change and be reassigned.

As per details of the proposed bill, the formation of the board should be established at district levels after the approval of the Prime Minister and the respective Chief Ministers of all provinces.

“Each board should comprise of professor doctor, a psychologist, a male general surgeon, a female general surgeon and a chief medical officer,” read the proposed bill.

The proposed bill also seeks a strict ban on surgeries for gender reassignment of any other treatment that change genital features, as they may be done on the basis of psychological disorder or gender dysphoria.

“The law in its present form could lead to the legalisation of homosexual marriages… The law violates the dignity of Muslim women,” stated the proposed bill.

The Senator, who presented the bill, stated that deeming gender identity a personal matter is contrary to the teachings of Islam, adding that the current law allows any person to get themselves registered as a man or a women not on the basis of their biology but their personal thoughts.

In Pakistan, at least 28,00 cases of gender change have been processed in the past three years. NADRA has been allegedly changing the genders of people on a single request.

The JI proposed bill was opposed by Federal Minister on Human Rights Shireen Mazari, who stated that the amendment is aimed at victimiSing the transgender community while the current law gives them right to identity.

“Till date, not a single complaint has been received regarding the misuse of this law,” she said.

The senate has sent ahead the proposed amendment bill to relevant authorities and has sought a reply from them to take the debate forward.

However, the bill is being criticised for targeted victimition of the transgender community, who already suffer discrimination from the society at large in the country.