In Historic Move, Pakistan’s National Assembly Passes landmark Transgender Rights Bill

Pakistan’s National Assembly passed a Bill to protect the rights of transgender people in the country. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2017 was passed with majority votes and grants various rights and protections to transgender people.

The Bill enables transgender people to obtain drivers license and passport, and change their gender in the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) records. It prohibits harassment and discrimination against transgender people by educational institutions, employers, in trade and health services, grants them rights to inherit property, and prohibits denying them services or not renting out places to them based on their gender identity. It grants trans people the right to vote and contest elections at all levels.

Further, the government will provide medical and educational facilities. It will also build separate cells in jails for transgender people and provide them easy loans to start their own business. The bill also imposes a fine of Rs 50000 and six months of imprisonment for anyone forcing a transgender to beg.Featured

In India, the Rajya Sabha had passed a private member’s bill for transgender rights. However, the government later brought its own bill titled Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha, which was opposed unanimously by the transgender community for its many flaws. The bill proposed setting up of a medical committee to certify if a person is transgender or not, and defined a transgender person as being “neither wholly male nor female”. The Bill was sent to a Parliamentary Committee and the government is yet to reintroduce it in the Parliament.

Sukhdeep Singh