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ISLAMABAD: Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz on Wednesday declared discriminatory attitude towards transgender people “against the values of Islam”.

“Transgender individuals are a part of our society and have equal rights, just like everyone else. However, there is a dire need to change our behaviour and society’s attitudes towards them. Discriminating against transgender persons is unethical and against the values of Islam,” he said during a discussion on proposed legislation aimed at securing the rights the transgender community at the Federal Ombudsman’s secretariat.

The Federal Ombudsman’s secretariat has taken an active interest in legislative reforms aimed at the protection and welfare of transgender persons, appointing a commissioner for transgender persons, who would ensure the swift redressal of their grievances, as well as facilitating the community in its interactions with parliament and government institutions.

Newly-appointed Commissioner for Transgender Persons Syeda Viquarunnisa Hashmi, Task Force on Transgender Chairperson Senator Rubina Khalid, National Commissioner for Children Ejaz Ahmad Qureshi and other relevant stakeholders were also present at the occasion.

Senator opposes requirement of medical test for identification of transgender people

Dr Ayaz said that he wanted to highlight the issues of the transgender community in mosques, so that people at grassroots level should give them due respect and consider them a valuable members of society.

Senator Khalid recommended that medical tests should not be made mandatory for the identification of transgender women, arguing that by identifying as female, they would only receive half the share that men would be entitled to, therefore there was no need to subject them to a medical test.

The transgender community has have been facing widespread discrimination across the country; last year, they were directed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police to leave the cities of Swat and Mardan after being blamed for their involvement in “vulgar activities”.

In reaction, National Commission on Human Rights Chairman retired Justice) Ali Nawaz Chowhan wrote a letter to the KP chief secretary and directed him to address the issue.

Parliamentary committees have, on a number of occasions, taken notice of the issue and directed the government to address it.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2018