Lawyer and human rights activist Hina Jilani has said that opposing the transgender bill and acts of violence against the transgender community would be considered genocide if we were living in a ‘civilised’ society.
She made these remarks while appearing on the Naya Daur TV show ‘Tonight with Hina Jilani’ alongside journalist Rabia Mahmood. The two talked about the transgender rights bill, the Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA) as well as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders objecting to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif meeting French President Emmanuel Macron during the United Nations General Assembly session.
About the transgender bill she said that laws are not made out of the blue, and every law has its own relevance and context, wether it be to counter a social problem, or to safeguard a community that needs protection. She highlighted some important aspects of the Bill, and asked what objections any sane, sensible and moralistic person could have to it. “How can they peddle lies saying that this Bill will allow un-Islamic things to happen?” she asked.
- In 2012 when the matter of the rights of transgender people was first raised in the Supreme Court, the court said that the topic of identity is very important in order for this community to get all the mainstream rights that every other citizen enjoys
- There was already such a history of violence by groups and individuals against the trans community because of their gender and their culture
- There was also lots of discrimination in our society which was being protected by a thought process that refused to acknowledge the existence of this community
- As always, certain people used Islam to sway arguments, incorrectly
- If our society was even slightly civilized then these sort of people would not have had their way at all, and in fact, these people would be accused of genocide against a highly marginalised community
- Because ultimately, they want to eliminate the transgender community, and they have a lot of weapons that will work towards making sure this community doesn’t even get the right to live
- The Bill gave a legal identity to intersex, castrated and transgender people
- It gave them the right to inheritance, and employment, and healthcare
- The Bill also adds responsibility on the government: give them a safe separate space in jails and in hospitals etc, protect them
Hina and Rabia also talked about the PTI-backed RUDA, which despite criticisms and concerns, is still moving forward. Hina said that there are many forces involved in pushing Pakistan towards a bad development model. “There is a lot of emphasis on land acquisition…by the way the land acquisition laws need reviewing also,” she said. She warned that we are heading towards the wrong use of land, and this will be realised when the food crisis hits us, and when we have another flood crisis.
The two also touched on PTI’s recent use of the religion card, regarding Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif meeting French President Emmanuel Macron recently. She said that when the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) was protesting and demanded that the then-PTI government break off diplomatic relations with France, Imran Khan’s government did not give in to their demands.
She said that the French president isn’t a persona non grata in Pakistan, and if a meeting needs to be held in a professional official capacity, then our prime minister wouldn’t be ‘worth his name’ if he is unable to conduct himself in a civil way. “This act of naming TLP in an effort to incite them, this is the act of people who are completely unworthy of being leaders,” she said, adding, “It is our bad luck that these people get voted into power, however, if they are here, the least they can do is keep their mouths shut.”