PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Monday introduced before the provincial assembly a bill providing for setting up a Rs50 million endowment fund for the welfare of thousands of transgender persons in the province.

Minister for social welfare and special education Anwar Zeb Khan tabled the bill in the sitting, which was chaired by Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan.

Transgender persons are considered one of the most vulnerable segments of the society. They are the most discriminated community in all spheres of life. More than 70 transgender persons have been killed in KP since 2015.

Activists working for the rights of transgender persons say the province has 40,000-50,000 transgender persons. However, the 2017 general census put the number at around 1,000 only.

Assembly refers calling attention notice on ‘anomalies’ in nurses’ appointment to panel

The bill, to be called the proposed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Transgender Persons Welfare Endowment Fund Act, 2022, says that the fund shall be established with an initial capital of Rs50 million and may, from time to time, be credited with the government grants, grants from philanthropists, non-governmental organisations and any other organisation, working for the welfare of the transgender persons.

A management committee will utilise the fund for the welfare activities of the transgender persons to bring them into the mainstream of society, and provision of financial assistance and small-scale interest-free loans to transgender persons.

The management commitment headed by director social welfare will receive applications through district officer, social welfare concerned from transgender person for financial assistance.

The bill says according to Article 38 of Constitution, the state shall secure and promote the social and economic well-being by the providing the facilities to the people irrespective of sex, caste, creed or race.

According to it, Section 6 of the proposed Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018, stated that the government shall take all necessary to steps encourage transgender to start small businesses by providing incentives, easy loan schemes and grants.

It said that a specific legislation for transgender persons focusing on their needs will help in protecting their economic rights and raising their standard of living.

“It is a good initiative as for the first time, a bill has been tabled in the assembly for providing financial assistance to transgender persons,” said Qamar Naseem, chief of Blue Veins, a civil society organisation working for the rights of transgender persons.

He, however, told Dawn that there was room for further improving the bill by making the future law applicable only to those transgender persons, whose computerised national identity cards showed them as such.

Mr Naseem said the amendments would check the misuse of the law and encourage the transgender community to make CNICs clearly showing their gender.

The government also introduced the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Lissaail-i-Wal Mahroom Foundation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2022, and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Fisheries and Aquaculture Bill, 2022.

The house referred a call attention notice regarding alleged irregularities in the appointment of nurses in tribal district to the relevant standing committee of the house.

Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Nighat Yasmin Orakzai, who moved the calling attention notice, alleged that the health minister was delaying the unveiling of the report.

She said the issue was raised in the assembly almost nine months ago but the health department had to table the report in the assembly.

The health department had appointed 482 nurses last year for hospitals in tribal districts but majority of appointees belonged to settled areas of the province.

Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had also ordered an inquiry a report showed that a large number of the newly-appointed nurses had come from his native Malakand division. The inquiry report has yet to see the light of day.

The sitting was adjourned until May 30.

Published in Dawn,May 24th, 2022

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