Gender cannot be changed at will, rules FSC

Gender cannot be changed at will, rules FSC

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) Friday issued a ruling stating that a person cannot change their gender at will. The court declared certain sections of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018 to be against Sharia law. The verdict was announced by Acting FSC Chief Justice Dr Syed Muhammad Anwer and Justice Khadim Hussain, and the written verdict is yet to be released.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act was passed by the National Assembly in 2018 with the aim of granting legal recognition and protection to transgender individuals, as well as prohibiting discrimination against them in various aspects of life.
In September 2022, the FSC had started hearing of the petitions that challenged the legislation, and allowed Senator Mushtaq Ahmed of Jamaat-i-Islami and TV anchor Orya Maqbool Jan along with transgender individuals Almaas Boby and Bubbly Malik as parties in the case.
In its recent verdict, the court expressed the view that gender is tied to an individual’s biological sex. It also highlighted the connection between gender and various religious acts, such as prayer, fasting, and performing Hajj. The court acknowledged that transgender persons are entitled to fundamental rights under Islam and the Constitution, emphasizing that the government is obligated to provide them with basic rights, as well as access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunities.
The FSC ruled that Sections 2(f) and 2(n)(iii) of the Transgender Persons Act, which pertain to the definitions of “gender identity” and “transgender person” respectively, are contrary to Sharia law. Additionally, Sections 3 (recognition of identity of transgender person) and 7 (right to inherit) were also deemed to be in violation of Sharia.
The court asserted that according to Sharia, an individual’s gender is determined by their physical attributes and that gender reassignment is not permitted. It emphasized that one’s gender remains the same as assigned at birth and cannot be changed according to personal preference. Regarding the right to inherit, the court stated that inheritance is based on an individual’s gender and cannot be altered by self-declaration as a transgender person.
Furthermore, the FSC concluded that it would be inconsistent with Islamic laws for a person to identify themselves as a transgender person without regard to their biological sex.



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