Pakistan leapfrogged ahead of many ‘developed’ nations on Tuesday, May 8th as the National Assembly passed a bill for the protection of the transgender persons’ rights.
A significant act of law making, this bill was in the tunnel for a while as it was ratified by the Senate in March, 2018.
Syed Naveed Qamar, MNA from PPP presented this bill to the floor where it was passed with a majority.
Prior to this Senators Rubina Khalid, Farhatullah Babar, and Dr Karim Khwaja were crucial in getting this bill ratified in the Senate.
The bill is a milestone in ascertaining basic rights to the trans community in Pakistan. The bill, along with various other clauses, includes:
- Prohibits any discriminatory behavior in their pursuit of employment and education, or during travel.
- Grants the right to transgender persons’ to change their specified gender in NADRA.
- Permits transgender persons’ to obtain driving licenses and passports.
- States punishments in violation of the act, such as anyone caught forcing them to beg would have to pay a fine of Rs.50,000 and spend 6 months in jail.
The bill represents a beacon of hope for the previously neglected portion of our society, and is significant work done on the 2009 bill which granted transgender persons’ a separate gender identity. Needless to say, the transgender community is overwhelmed with joy on this auspicious occasion.
This bill comes at a time of significant progression as only recently had the breaking news surfaced where Marvia Ali, a transgender, became a news anchor on a private channel. Another transgender person, Nayyab Ali, an active member of All Pakistan Transgender Election Network in Punjab has declared the intent to run for a seat for National Assembly.
It remains to be seen whether the bill is implemented as efficiently as it has been passed, but the early signs have been promising for social progression of the transgender community of Pakistan.