The National Assembly on Tuesday passed the landmark Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2017 with majority votes, DawnNewsTV reported.
The proposed law enables trans people to be recognised as they perceive themselves and register with the government institutions as transgenders. It also provides them basic rights such as obtaining driver's licences and passports. The bill was presented by PPP lawmaker Naveed Qamar. It was earlier unanimously approved by Senate in March this year.
In addition to this, the bill speaks against the harassment and discrimination of trans people in the workplace, in their homes and in a public setting. It also prescribes imprisonment of up to six months for those employing members of the marginalised community as beggars or compelling them to beg.
Other landmark provisions of the proposed law that seek to protect the rights of the transgender community include:
- Transgender persons will be able to register to obtain a driver's licence and passport. They will have the option to get their gender changed in National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) records.
- Harassment of transgenders will be prohibited in and outside their homes.
- Trans persons will not be discriminated against by educational institutions, employers, in trade and health services, and when using public transport and buying or selling or renting a property they will also not be dismissed because of their gender identity.
- The government will establish a safe house for transgenders and provide them medical and educational facilities and psychological counselling.
- Separate rooms will be established at jails where transgenders could be detained.
- Law enforcement agencies personnel will be sensitised to the rights of transgender people.
- Trans persons will be provided loans to start businesses on easy conditions.
- In addition to all basic rights, they will be entitled to inherit property.
- The government will take steps to ensure employment opportunities for transgenders.
- Transgenders will have the right to vote in all national, provincial and local government elections and they will not be discriminated against in their pursuit of a public office.
- They will have the right to assemble and access to public and entertainment sports.
- Anyone found guilty of forcing a transgender person to beg will be sentenced to six months in prison and served a fine of Rs50,000.
Before this, the only legal recognition of transgender individuals’ rights in Pakistani law came from a Supreme Court ruling that conferred a number of fundamental rights, such as inheritance, issuance of a CNIC and entitlement to jobs, along with protection from police harassment.
The trans community is celebrating the recent approval of a bill protecting their rights.
Speaking to Images, model and activist Kami Sid said, "This bill is a collective approach of the people and it's a wonderful move. It talks about important issues concerning the trans community and highlights their inclusiveness in society."