ISLAMABAD: Human rights and transgender rights activists on Saturday claimed that religious segments were not only ignorant about the laws of the country but were also promoting hatred and violent extremism.
Responding to the campaign launched by the religious segments against the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act (2018), the activists termed it a move to create chaos in society over a law that was enacted almost four years ago.
Addressing a news conference at the National Press Club, transgender rights activist Bubbli Malik, Ayesha Mughal, People’s Party Parliamentarians Secretary GeneralFarhatullah Babar, rights activist Farzana Bari and Eman Mazari Advocate slammed the religious segments for distorting the facts and propagating a false narrative over the transgender rights law.
“This is not true, we respect ulema for their knowledge and responsibilities related to Sharia and Islam, but some extremist elements within their ranks are defaming the whole category of clerics,” said Bubbli Malik.
Say drive aimed at creating chaos in society over a law that was enacted four years ago
She cited an example of the murder of a trans-person in KP and said the killer was proud to have carried out the act and announced that his teacher had pronounced it as a jehad.
“These people are creating a new breed of violent extremists in the society that is already suffering from terror and bloodshed,” Ms Bubbli said, adding media should play its role to remove such misconceptions being created by some people.
Ayesha Mughal responded to the accusation made by Senator Mushtaq of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and JUI-F, who have filed applications in the Federal Shariat Court that the Act was against the principles of Sharia.
Ayesha Mughal said people who were criticising the law have not even read it. There are only trying to make it controversial possibly due to their “misogynistic” and “chauvinistic” mindset.
“This act does not contain any clause against Islam, and there is no option even in the marriage certificates and nikahnama that could promote homosexuality in the society,” Ms Ayesha said, showing the copies of the Act.
The concept of alphabet “X” has been introduced in the Act and under it any person already categories as “M” – male or “F” female can get converted to “X” in the Nadra record and the same will be reflected in their CNICs.
“At the same time, those categorised as “X” in the CNICs cannot marry because there is no such clause in nikahnama too,” she added. “Besides, there is no provision in this law that allows a person to convert from male to female or vice versa.”
Ayesha Mughal also refuted the figures claimed by the JI senator that around 28,000 people had converted to X in four years.
“Senator Mushtaq is ignorant and the right figure is 2,978 across the country and here you can see I have a letter from Nadra. Besides, there has not been any change between M and F in the national database.” Ms Ayesha added.
Farhatullah Babar said the PPP will defend the transgender protection Act and if needed will also reach out to all those who have launched a campaign against it with a view to removing grave misunderstandings about the Act circulated on the social media.
Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2022