Pak court acquits man, transgender of allegations of marrying

 A court in northwest Pakistan has acquitted a man and a trans-gender person who were accused of getting married nearly two years ago, saying the prosecution had failed to prove the charges against them.

Judicial Magistrate Mohammad Ilyas of Peshawar city announced the acquittal yesterday after the prosecution and defence completed arguments.

The judge said the charges against Malik Iqbal and Kashif alias Rani, the trans-gender person, could not be proved.

Iqbal told reporters he would file a defamation case against the former chief of Faqirabad police station, who had levelled the charges against him.

Iqbal said he belonged to a respected family and was falsely implicated in the case.
Police had arrested 47 people, including the accused and several trans-gender persons, during a raid on a commercial plaza on May 25, 2010.

At the time, police claimed that the arrested persons were participating in a same sex marriage.

Iqbal's lawyer denied the claim and said several eunuchs and musicians were tenants at the plaza owned by his client.

He said a function had been organised to celebrate the birthday of Kashif alias Rani.
A day after the arrests, 45 people were freed by police on bail while Iqbal and Kashif were granted bail by an additional district and sessions judge in June 2010.
Anjum Pervez, the lawyer of Iqbal, insisted that his client was framed with malicious intentions.

He said Section 377 of the Pakistan Penal Code dealt with unnatural offence against any man, woman or animal, and it was not possible that his client would commit such an offence in the presence of over 50 people.

Pervez further said Iqbal already had two wives.The trans-gender community was recently granted official status by the Supreme Court.

Acting on the apex court's order, authorities included a third section for gender in the registration form for national identity cards.

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