LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Ministry of Information and Broadcas­ting and Ministry of Human Rights and Minority Affairs on a petition by a transgender person challenging an objectionable dialogue in an upcoming film.

Zanaya Chaudhry, a transgender rights activist, filed the petition through Barrister Ahmad Pansota, requesting the court to direct the respondents to take action against violation of the existing laws ensuring basic rights to the transgender community.

During the hearing, the counsel told the court that a private film production and distribution company based in Karachi had recently aired a trailer of its upcoming film, Dum Mastam. The movie violated the rights of citizens and in particular transgender persons, as the word “khusra” has been used for the community, which was a derogatory term and the Pemra council of complaints also deliberated upon the same.

The counsel stated that the matter pertained to the right to life, liberty and dignity, and the responsibility of the respondents to uphold the constitutionally guaranteed rights. The particular dialogue in the film was in grave violation of fundamental rights under Articles 4, 9, 14, 25A of the Constitution.

He argued that all citizens were equal before the law and entitled to equal protection of the law. The Constitution envisaged no discrimination on the basis of sex. He asked the court to order the respondents to take action against the violation of the laws and also direct that all such programmes, which use the word “khusra” and make fun of the community, be banned and no one be allowed to ridicule the khwajasira/transgender community in any manner.

After hearing initial arguments of the counsel, Justice Shahid Waheed sought replies from the respondents within a fortnight.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2022

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