Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrai on Monday referred three identical bills to Standing Committee on Human Rights seeking amendments in the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018.
The Parliament had enacted the Transgender Persons (Protection of Right) Act in 2018 to provide legal recognition to transgender persons and ensure that discrimination against transgender persons in various walks of life shall be punishable. Two out of three identical bills namely the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) (Amendment) Bill, 2022 were separately moved by Senator Mohsin Aziz, Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah while one was jointly sponsored by Senators Molana Abdul Ghafoor Hiaderi, Atta ur Rehman, Molvi Faiz Muhammad and Kamran Murtaza.
The introduced bills mainly focused to re-define transgender person as the phrase `transgender person’ itself is not appropriate and needs to be replaced with “Intersex Persons”. Moreover, it stressed that concept of ‘ self-perceived identity’ is against spirit of Islam, as the same does not allow any person to adopt an identity on the basis of his or her own choice, but should solely be determined on the basis of physical appearance or by a report of duty notified medical board. These bills also demanded that parents of such persons would be responsible of their upbringing rather than handing over them to others.
Chairman Standing Committee on Human Rights Senator Waliq Iqbal said that committee would review all these bills in detail and nothing would be allowed against spirit of Islam. The Senate on Monday passed three private members’ bills and referred eight others to the relevant committees for further consideration. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Faisal Javed moved the National Commission on the Rights of Child (Amendment) Bill, 2022 which was passed by the House. Likewise, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Saleem Mandviwala introduced the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Bill, 2022, which was also adopted by the House.
However, the House passed another bill, the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Bill, 2022, amid protest by the opposition lawmakers. They alleged that the bill sponsored by Saleem Mandviwalla and independent Senator Kauda Babar, was not discussed by the relevant standing committee. The opposition later walked out of the House against its passage.
Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Abdul Qadir Patel said the bill was thoroughly deliberated in the committee’s meeting. Each and every amendment proposed by the opposition was also considered by it, he added. Eight bills, including the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2022; the Tosha Khana (Management and Regulation) Bill, 2022; the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2022; the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2022] (Amendment of Articles 215, 218 and 228); and identical bills namely the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the Khunsa Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2022.
The chair deferred two private members’ bills including the Pakistan Environmental Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2022 (Amendment of Article 62), which would likely to be considered likely on next private members’ day on October 10. The proceedings of the Upper House of the Parliament was adjourned on Monday due to the lack of quorum. Immediately after pointing out of the quorum by Rana Maqbool Ahmed, Senate Deputy Chairman Mirza Muhammad Afridi ordered ringing of the bells. After a few minutes, the Deputy Chairman ordered recounting and declared that the House lacked quorum and adjourned the session till 4 pm Tuesday.