Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pakistan Police Arrest Sex Change Couple

Source: CNN
Orig. date of post: not sure of exact date, was sometime in May.

Pakistan police arrest a wife & husband which was born a woman & underwent a sex reassignment surgery 16 years ago. Wife & husband are accused of lying about the husbands gender to a court in eastern Pakistan.Father of the bride is now requested that the marriage be annulled under the grounds that a marriage of two people of the same sex is against Islam.

Husband Shumail Raj, 31, had brought the case to the courts requesting protection from harassment from their relatives, however earlier in the month the Lahore High Court ordered to arrest Raj & his wife Shahzina Tariq, 26, for lying to the court.Raj had advised the court that he was indeed a male, but a court appointed panel ruled that Raj was female whose breasts & uterus were removed in a gender reassignment surgery. Raj finally told a court appointed Dr. that he underwent the surgery at the age of 15 when he noticed a change in his voice & began to grow facial hair. The court appointed medical panel found Raj had no penis & the vagina had been surgically closed.

After the married couples arrest on Sunday, Raj insists that the surgery made him a man & that he had married Tariq to save her from an arranged marriage.

"I decided to help her out when she came to me with the problem. She told me that one of her uncles wants to sell her to pay off a debt," Raj told The Associated Press by telephone from a police station in Faisalabad, the pair's hometown.

"I had told Shahzina that I have had two operations and I am not a male. But she said that it was not a problem for her. She said she just needs protection," Raj said. He referred to himself both as male and not male during the interview.

Tariq said she was aware of Raj's surgery, and they married for her protection.

"I knew that Shumail was not a male. She had some problem due to the operations, but I begged her for protection," she said, referring to her husband as a woman throughout the interview.

"We had planned to leave Faisalabad to settle elsewhere permanently," Tariq said by phone.

Aslam Tareen, a senior police officer, said that police will wait for orders from the court, where Raj and Tariq will appear on Tuesday, before further investigating the case, including the claim that Tariq's uncle wanted to sell her to pay off his debt. The couple have not yet been charged with any wrongdoing, Tareen said.

After their arrest at a relatives home in Lahore, Raj and Tariq were moved to Faisalabad, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) to the west, Tareen said.

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