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Empowering the ‘voiceless’: NA passes transgender rights’ bill

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Tuesday approved the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018 aimed at ensuring rights of transgender persons.

The Lower House also passed about a dozen bills including the one regarding transgender persons.

Under the proposed law, transgender persons will be able to register to obtain driving licence and passport. They will have the option to get their gender changed in the National Database and Registration Authority’s record.

Read: Making history: Transgender to contest NA election from Okara

However, the bill was opposed by JUI-F lawmaker Naeema Kishwer who said it should be referred to the standing committee for detailed deliberation. She pointed out that there were some flaws in the bill.

The JUI-F lawmaker moved a motion and amendments to refer the bill to the Council of Islamic Ideology and the standing committee. But the proposal was rejected.

Meet Pakistan’s first transgender news anchor

According to the bill, harassment of transgender persons will be prohibited in and outside their homes. They will not be discriminated against by educational institutions, employers, in trade and health services, and when using public transport and buying or selling or renting property.

The bill proposes to establish a safe house for such persons and provide them medical and educational facilities and psychological counselling. Similarly, separate rooms will be established at jails where these persons could be detained. In addition to all basic rights, they will be entitled to inherit property.

The government will take steps to ensure employment opportunities for transgender persons and they will have the right to vote in all national, provincial and local government elections and they will not be discriminated against in their pursuit of a public office.

The bill states that anyone found guilty of forcing these persons to beg will be sentenced to six months in prison and served a fine of Rs50,000.

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