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Transgenders cannot identify themselves as male or female, rules Federal Shariat Court

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  • A person’s gender cannot be determined by their feelings, says court.
  • Says no one can be declared transgender based on physical features.
  • Court says responsibility of govt to ensure rights of transgender persons.

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) on Friday ruled that it was not for the transgenders to decide their identity as male or female, and they were not allowed to change their gender based only on their self-proclaimed feelings and desires.

The order was announced by the Acting Chief Justice of the Federal Shariat Court Dr Syed Muhammad Anwer and Justice Khadim Hussain Shaikh on a petition challenging the Transgender Act.

The court made it clear in its order that gender was related to a person’s biological sex, and that it has a specific bearing on how various forms of worship, including daily prayers, fasting, Hajj, etc are performed in Islam.

“A person’s gender cannot be determined by their feelings,” said the ruling and added: “Shariah does not permit anyone to have their gender reassigned because of impotence as the gender remains the same as it was at birth”.

“No one can be declared transgender based on physical features and self-made identity,” said the verdict and added that the gender of an individual would be determined by their dominant physical features or secondary sex characters.

The court stated that those exhibiting dominant male features would be considered male transgenders and those having dominant female secondary sex characters would be deemed female transgenders.

The court, however, ruled that it was the responsibility of the government to ensure the rights of transgender persons as “Islam provides them will all human rights”.

“If a man or a woman calls themselves transgender outside of their biological sex then it is against Shariah,” said the verdict.

The verdict stated that Section 7 and Section 3 of the Transgender Protection Act were against Islam and Shariah. The court also struck down Section 2F of the Transgender Act.

The court also declared that the rules made under the Transgender Protection Act as “illegal”.

The act

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act was passed by Pakistan’s Parliament in 2018. The law prohibits discrimination against transgender people in schools, workplaces and public spaces, as well as ensures their right to vote, inherit property and run for public office.

In 2022, politicians from religious political parties, including the Jamat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Pakistan-Fazl, kicked up a row, insisting that the law is against Islamic tenets and should be immediately amended.

Social media users and conservative politicians accuse the law of permitting gender-reassignment surgeries, same-sex marriages, and cross-dressing. They also claim that since 2018, when the law was passed, over 23,000 people have changed their genders.

The claim that the law will allow men to change their gender to female and women to male on official documents is incorrect.

The law clearly defines a “transgender person” as one who is “intersex” with a mixture of male and female genital features or a eunuch assigned the male gender at birth but undergoes castration or a trans person whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.

The Rules of the Act further clarify that a transgender person will have to approach the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for a change of name or gender on identity documents, as per their self-perceived identity. And NADRA will only alter their gender from Female to the category “X” or Male to the category “X”.

“X” symbolises the third sex in Pakistan, a classification specially created for the trans community on the orders of the Supreme Court in 2009.

The law or the rules do not allow men to change their gender to female or vice versa on their CNICs, passports or other travel documents.

Apart from this, the law also allows transgender persons to register to obtain a driver’s licence and passport; prohibits harassment of transgender persons at home and in public places; stops people from discriminating against transgenders in educational institutions and workplaces, in trade and health services, when using public transport, and when buying, selling, or renting property.

The law also calls for the establishment of safe houses for transgender persons and the provision of medical and educational facilities and psychological counselling to them. 

Moreover, it makes it mandatory for the government to set up separate rooms at jails for transgenders and according to the law, they are also entitled to inherit property among other things. 

Business

Moody’s says the IMF programme will increase Pakistan’s foreign financing.

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Moody’s, a reputable international rating agency, has stated that Pakistan’s chances of acquiring funding will increase as a result of the recent agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which offers dependable sources for that purpose from both friendly countries and international financial institutions.

According to a recent Moody’s analysis on Pakistan’s economy, social unrest and tensions could result from Pakistan’s ongoing inflation. The country’s economic reforms may be hampered by increased taxes and potential changes to the energy tariff, it continued.

Moody’s, on the other hand, agrees that the coalition government headed by Shehbaz Sharif of the PML-N is in danger of failing to secure an election mandate, which may potentially undermine the successful and long-lasting execution of economic reforms.

The government’s capacity to proceed with economic changes may be hampered by societal unrest and poor governance, according to Moody’s.

In order to appease the IMF by fulfilling a prerequisite for authorising a rescue package, the government raised the basic tariff on electricity, which coincided with the most recent increase in fuel prices announced on Monday. This report was released by Moody’s.

Food costs have increased in the nation, where the vast majority is experiencing an unprecedented crisis due to the high cost of living, following the government’s earlier presentation of a budget that included a large increase in income tax for the salaried classes and the implementation of GST on commodities like milk.

The most recent comments were made following Islamabad’s achievement of a staff-level agreement for a $7 billion contract that spans 37 months and is contingent upon final approval by the IMF Executive Board.

It states that Pakistan will need foreign financing totaling about $21 billion in 2024–2025 and $23 billion in 2025–2026, meaning that the country’s present $9.4 billion in reserves won’t be sufficient to cover its needs.

Therefore, according to Moody’s, Pakistan is in an alarming position with regard to its external debt, and the next three to five years will be extremely difficult for the formulation and implementation of policies.

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Business

Base Of bilateral relations: China And Pakistan Reiterate Their Support For CPEC

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China-Pakistan economic corridor is a major project of the Belt and Road Initiative, and both countries have reiterated their commitment to it. It remains a fundamental aspect of their bilateral relations.

Vice Chairman Zhao Chenxin of the National Development and Reform Commission of China and Minister Ahsan Iqbal of Planning and Development met in Beijing, where Ahsan Iqbal made this assurance.

The summit made clear how committed China and Pakistan are to advancing their strategic cooperative partnership in all weather conditions.

The focus of the discussion was on how the CPEC was going, with both parties reviewing project development and discussing how the agreement made at the leadership level will lead to the launch of an enhanced version of the CPEC.

In order to improve trade, connectivity, and socioeconomic growth in the area, they emphasised the need of CPEC projects.

The Ml-I Project, the KKH realignment, and the Sukkur-Hyderabad motorway—the last remaining segment of the Karachi-Peshawar motorway network—were all to be expedited.

Expanding the partnership’s horizons to include technology, innovation, education, connectivity, and renewable energy sources was another topic of discussion.

Specifically in the special economic zones being built under the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (CPEX), Vice Chairman NDRC emphasised the possibility of China investing more in Pakistan.

In addition to expressing confidence in the ongoing success of the two nations’ collaboration, Zhao Chenxin reiterated China’s support for Pakistan’s development aspirations.

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9th Muharram: Processions Happen Throughout the Nation Today Under Strict Security

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Nineth Muharram: Today, the nation observes the ninth day of Muharram with the appropriate seriousness and respect, honouring the ultimate sacrifice made by Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his followers.

In addition to Tazia and Alam processions being held in certain cities, Majalis will take place in all major and minor cities.

A thorough traffic and security strategy for the ninth day of Ramadan has been finalised by the Islamabad police.

Starting from the Imambargah at G/6-2, the main 9 Muharram al haram procession will travel a predetermined itinerary before ending back at its starting position.

The traffic measures are in place to guarantee the parade proceeds smoothly. General traffic will not be allowed on the route that runs from Fazal Haq Road, Polyclinic, to Kulsoom Plaza.
Today, amid strict security, there are processions across the nation.

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