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Court Orders Hospital To Facilitate Peshawar Woman Seeking Sex Reassignment Surgery

Peshawar High Court (PHC) has directed the administration of Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) to facilitate a young woman who wants to undergo sex reassignment surgery (SRS) to become a man.

DAWN reported that PHC’s bench comprising Justice Qaiser Rasheed and Justice Naeem Anwar issued the order on Thursday, while hearing a petition filed by the woman seeking the court’s nod for the surgery. The case was argued at length in light of the Constitution, transgender rights act and other medico-legal aspects.

Representing the petitioner, lawyer Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel argued that according to the constitution of Pakistan, it is the woman’s right to opt for any surgery or procedure to change her sex as per her desire.

The lawyer informed the court that the petitioner was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a condition that involves a conflict between a person’s internal gender identity and the biological sex assigned to them at birth, and it can be treated through SRS.

He said that his client has felt and acted like a male since childhood but her outward appearance is that of a female, and because of the mental distress she has suffered a lot due to the condition. Now she wants to have her sex changed, the lawyer said, adding that his client has to make her own choices and the law only facilitates people and not withhold their rights.

He also argued that the parliament had recently passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018, in which her desire to change her sex is covered under Section 2 of the Act.

Justice Rasheed, who was heading the bench, inquired from the lawyer why they had approached the court regarding the surgery and not the hospital. Responding to this question, the counsel informed the court that his client could face several legal complications after the surgery such as changing her name and sex in her CNIC and regarding inheritance issues, therefore they sought the court’s prior approval.

After examining the case from all constitutional aspects, the PHC bench ordered the HMC to facilitate the petitioner in SRS.

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