Religious parties step up fight against transgender law

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Religious parties on the other side of the line have stepped up their campaign against the Transgender People (Protection of Rights) Act, declaring it an attack on society.

Passed by parliament in 2018, the law has been at the center of debate since the first week of September, with right-wingers demanding amendments.

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Anti-bill posts have taken social media sites by storm, creating major trends on Twitter.

The Jamaat-e-Islami at the head of the movement like the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Noorani and the moderate Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) also joined forces to support the amendments.

The debate even forced the Rah-e-Haq party, the banned political wing of Sipah-e-Sahaba, and the terrorist group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to issue statements against him.

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It is very worrying that political parties in Pakistan are working under the patronage of the West [and got] passed anti-Islam bill [transgender act] of parliament, read a statement issued by the banned TTP, calling on religious parties and scholars from all schools of Islamic thought to unite against him and start a movement. He dismissed the bill as “other anti-Islam laws of parliament”.

The sole Rah-e-Haq party MPA, Moavia Azam, separately submitted a resolution to the Punjab Assembly against the law.

JI Emir Sirajul Haq called a press conference Thursday at the party headquarters in Mansoura where he launched an attack on the law and demanded an amendment to it as proposed by Senator JI Mushtaq Ahmad Khan in the Senate.

“I want to make it clear that JI will stand up to the attack on Islamic norms in society,” Haq said, declaring the law against the teachings of Islam.

JUP-Noorani, a Barelvi-Sunni organization, staged protest demonstrations across the country against the passage of the bill by parliament, its media arm said.

The JUI-F Lahore branch also rejected the bill during its working committee meeting, calling for a boycott of the political parties behind the passage of the law. Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s party called the law “against Islam”.

Dr. Tahirul Qadri’s PAT also opposed the bill and criticized the leaders for supporting it. Instead of asking forgiveness from Almighty Allah at a time when floods have devastated the country, the leaders have come up with the transgender act, said PAT Central Punjab branch chairman Mian Rehan Maqbool.

Right-wingers say the law will promote homosexuality and same-sex marriages against the position of members of the transgender community and leftists, who call it a landmark.

The former have already filed applications to become parties to the long-running case heard by the Federal Shariah Court, asking the FSC to strike down two important provisions of the law: the question of who should be considered a person transgender, as well as an individual’s right to be recognized based on their perceived gender identity.

A transgender who requested anonymity said the law protects the rights of people whose gender identity conflicts with their biological sex.

She said it was problematic to link gender non-conformity to homosexuality and added that being a transvestite had nothing to do with anyone’s sexual orientation.

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