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ISLAMABAD: A seminar on the Rights and Welfare of Transgender Persons was held in the Supreme Court under the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan.

The concluding session was chaired by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar. Participants were briefed about the recommendations for formulating a policy framework for the welfare of the transgender community, advocacy for registration with the National Database and Registration Authority and sensitisation of government and public agencies for behavioural changes.

The chief justice expressed grief on the way transgender people are treated and their social exclusion.

He said the Constitution provides transgender people the right to live a dignified life and to be treated equally.

He said SC is determined to protect the rights of this marginalised community and urged the federal and provincial governments to formulate a comprehensive policy for the protection, rehabilitation and mainstreaming the transgender community into society and remove associated taboos and stigmas.

Hearing a human rights case regarding the issuance of a CNIC to a transgender person, SC directed the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan to hold a seminar of stakeholders and representatives of the transgender community to come up with recommendations for protecting the rights and welfare of the transgender community.

Former SC judge, Khilji Arif Hussain chaired the plenary session of the seminar which was attended by representatives of relative government departments and representatives of the civil society and transgender community.

Secretary Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan Dr Mohammad Raheem Awan moderated the seminar.

Mr Hussain highlighted the need for the protection of the rights of transgender persons who can play a useful role in the development of society.

He stressed that government functionaries should adopt an inclusive policy for the welfare of transgender persons.

Chief Secretary Punjab Akbar Durrani presented a conceptual note and shared the initiatives of the Punjab government for the welfare of the transgender community in accordance with SC directions.

Transgender persons attending the seminar shared the problems and discriminations they face and the psychological impact it has.

They raised issues such as the right to inheritance, education, social insecurity and derogatory attitude towards them.

The secretary of the Benazir Income Support Programme shared the initiatives taken for the welfare of transgender persons and the outlines of the financial assistance packages introduced for them.

He said the programme intended to extend educational assistance to transgender persons through the Waseela Taleem Programme.

Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2018