In Pakistan, a Sharia court has overturned progressive legislation for trans people. The current law is not compatible with the recommendations of Islam, said a spokesman for the federal Sharia court. The judges have thus upheld a lawsuit brought by conservative Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan from the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami.
Since 2018, trans people in Pakistan have been able to decide for themselves whether they want to be entered as male, female or as a so-called third gender in their official papers. Furthermore, transsexuals were guaranteed basic civil rights and protection from discrimination.
The equality law for transsexuals, passed with the blessing of Islamic clerics, caused a lot of opposition from the conservative Muslim society in the South Asian country.
Protest against the killing of a transgender woman: Despite legal protection, cases of killing and abductions continue to occur in Pakistan (archive)
The transgender community now wants to take action against his removal and appeal to the Supreme Court. Pakistani activist Nayyab Ali, who received the 2020 “Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law”, criticized the verdict as “a total denial of the rights of the transgender community” in the name of Islam.
The basis of the law at the time was a decision by the Supreme Court from 2012. According to the ruling, transgender people have the same rights as all citizens. In addition, the judges instructed the legislature to introduce the category “third gender” in the identity documents.
Trans people are people who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. In Pakistan, this includes those born with bodies that are not clearly male or female. Human rights organizations estimate that there are more than 10,000 transgender people in Pakistan.
Despite legal protection, transgender people often live on the fringes of society in the predominantly Islamic country. In addition to harassment, there are also repeated cases of killing and kidnapping. Nayyab Ali himself was the victim of an acid attack.
In January this year, Sindh became the first province in Pakistan to introduce a quota for transgender people in local governments. In September last year, Pakistan launched a telephone hotline for transgender people to report harassment.
uh/hf (dpa, kna)