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Transgender community hails decree on marriage

By Akhtar Amin
June 28, 2016

Will move court to legalise Fatwa by Pakistan Sharia Board

PESHAWAR: The transgender community of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has welcomed a ‘decree’ of the Sharia Board of Pakistan that transgender men and women can marry each other and vowed to move the court to get legal status of the pronouncement.

Trans-Action Alliance President for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata Farzana told The News that it was a historic Fatwa.“We are very happy to hear about the decree that transgender men and women can marry each other and their nikah is allowed in Sharia,” Farzana said, adding they would now file a petition for legal backup of the decree from the court.

“Transgender people face unique legal issues with regard to marriage. We at Trans-Action Alliance welcome this Fatwa. This is what we were lobbying and asking for. If the government of Pakistan is issuing identity documents of ‘female transgender and male transgender’ then they should be given the right to marriage,” argued Farzana.

She said they welcome the decree because it allows marriage between transgender people and recognises them as equal human beings and citizens.  She asked the people to give them due respect and inheritance rights and reject hate crimes and violence against transgender because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

“We are very happy to see that religious leaders have asked the government to formulate a policy for our protection and well-being. We are ready to extend any support the government need from us,” she added.

Qamar Naseem, the programme coordinator of the non-governmental organization Blue Veins and a rights activist of transgender community, said the Fatwa is a window of opportunity and must be explored.

“There must be peaceful academic and religious debate around this Fatwa and it should be appreciated instead of being criticised. Making family is a fundamental right guaranteed in the constitution of Pakistan and protected by the intentional law,” he said, adding the Fatwa must have legal and legislative endorsement and they will be taking it to the superior courts for consideration.

The Fatwa issued by the Sharia Board of Pakistan having 50 muftis (religious scholars) said the transgender men and women can marry each other. It decreed that families who abandon their gender variant children because of their gender identity are committing sin and they will be questioned by God for their ill-treatment towards their transgender children.

The Fatwa also said that discriminating against transgender people is a sin and Muslims should refrain from it. It said Muslims should not avoid participation in the funerals of the transgender. It appealed to the government to give the transgender community the right to make family and issue them identity documents. It said the transgender should be respected equally as other Muslim men and women.

The Sharia Board of Pakistan said it is the duty of the state to protect transgender community and ensure its welfare. It added that there should be legislation in Pakistan to protect their rights.