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Event Title: Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights was held here at Parliament House on Monday with Senator Walid Iqbal in Chair.

Event Date: 2022-10-03

The meeting commenced with the Chair apprising the Committee of the entire legislative history behind the passage of The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018, in both Houses of Parliament between August 2017 and May 2018, followed by deliberation on the two Amendment Bills moved by Senators Fawzia Arshad and Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, involving the original 2018 Act. The movers apprised the Committee on salient features of their respective Amendment Bills. They further added that their primary aim was to bring the original 2018 Act in conformity with the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah. Senator Mohsin Aziz, special invitee to the Committee, who had also moved an Amendment Bill relating to the 2018 Act which was to be presented in the Senate later that afternoon, along with three other Amendment Bills on the same subject moved by various other Senators, also emphasized upon the need to align the 2018 Act with Islamic Injunctions. Former Senator Farhat Ullah Babar, as a member of the Senate’s Functional Committee on Human Rights, which considered the original Bill in 2017-18, gave a brief overview of the deliberations undertaken by the Committee at that time.

Senator Walid Iqbal, Chairman of the Committee, sought views of the Committee members on either clubbing together the existing two along with the further expected four Amendment Bills and sending them back to the House from where they could be sent to the Council of Islamic Ideology in accordance with Article 229 of the Constitution for its expert opinion, or whether the Committee itself should further deliberate on the clubbed Amendment Bills in its next meetings. The members of the Committee, while unanimously acknowledging that no law could be repugnant to the Injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah, also unanimously decided to further deliberate upon all clubbed Amendment Bills in its upcoming Committee meetings for the time being. The Committee also observed that it might be necessary to invite religious scholars, medical/legal experts, human rights activists, representatives of transgender community, and Chairman NADRA in its upcoming meetings on the subject.

The meeting was attended by Senator Qurat ul Ain Marri,Senator Dr. Mohammad Humayun Mohamand,Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed,Senator Abida Muhammad Azeem,Senator Seeme Ezdi,Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar,Senator Irfan ul Haq Siddiqui,Senator Fawzia Arshad,Senator Mohsin Aziz, and Senator Mushtaq Ahmed. Afzal Latif, Secretary Ministry of Human Rights and other concerned officers were also in attendance.