ISLAMABAD – The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday issued notices to respondents in a petition filed by a girl who was born with “gender identity disorder” and intended to become a boy after having a medical operation.
A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition filed by Huma Ishaque and also directed the Secretary Ministry of Human Rights to nominate an authorised officer and he shall contact the petitioner in order to inquire about grievances and thereafter expected to take such measures as deem appropriate for redressal of grievances.
The court further said that he shall also submit a report before this court and the Secretary Ministry of Human Rights is further directed to submit a report, inter alia, explaining why the Federal Government has failed in fulfilling its obligations described under the Act of 2018, particularly section 6 ibid.
The IHC bench also directed to issue notices to respondents for filing para-wise comments within a fortnight while it directed the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations), Islamabad Capital Territory to afford an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner and take such measures as would be necessary to protect him from harassment and harm.
The court further directed to send copies of this order to the Secretary Ministry of Human Rights and the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Islamabad Capital Territory through special messenger for compliance and deferred the hearing till October 5 in this matter. In her petition, the petitioner Huma invoked the jurisdiction of this court under Article 199 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 because the latter is aggrieved due to failure on part of the State to treat him as an equal citizen.
The petitioner asserted that she was born with “gender identity disorder” and that guaranteed rights are being denied. The counsel representing Huma argued that competent professional experts have declared the petitioner to be born with “gender identity disorder.” He adopted that his client has a right to identify himself in accordance with self-perceived identity, but members of the society, particularly loved ones have subjected the petitioner to extreme hardship and physical as well as mental agony.
The counsel stressed that the life of the petitioner and his wellbeing is at risk. He referred to the relevant provisions of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018 and contended that the federal government has failed in fulfilling its obligations, inter alia, described under section 6 ibid.
The IHC Chief Justice noted that persons born with “gender identity disorder” require extraordinary care and protection in order to safeguard their constitutionally guaranteed rights. He added that the Act of 2018 was promulgated to ensure that the “gender identity” and “gender expression” of persons born with “gender identity disorder” are protected from being harassed. Justice Athar continued that the rights of such special persons were explicitly acknowledged and recognised fourteen hundred years ago by the Islamic jurists such as Imam Abu Hanifa and other Imams.
“The Creator has created such persons in a particular manner and, therefore, it is for others to respect the creation and protect their rights. It is, therefore, a constitutional duty of the State and the public functionaries to ensure that complaints made by persons born with “gender identity disorder” are dealt with extraordinary care so as to ensure that their rights are protected,” maintained the IHC CJ. He added that it appears from the grievances raised in the petition in hand, that the federal government has yet to fulfill its obligations, inter alia, described under section 6 of the Act of 2018.