Transgenders in Pakistan have become the target of a vicious new attack in Karachi.
Just a few days after NADRA properly introduced gender options – ‘eunuch male’, ‘eunuch female’, ‘unisex’ – for Pakistan’s transgenders, news has broken that the community has come under attack. According to Karachi police, armed men opened fire on trans people in a rather affluent neighborhood.
A police officer, Aurangzeb Khattak, stated that the attack occurred late Wednesday night. People in four-wheel drive cars circled the transgenders in the area at the time, threw eggs on them, and then opened fire. This resulted in the death of a trans person named Chanda Sharmeeli, whose body has now been handed over to the family.
Speaking on the matter, Mr. Khattak said: “We are investigating the murder of the victim, and from what we can understand so far, is that this was a personal argument gone too far. It doesn’t seem like there was a history of animosity.”
Police investigating the matter say that the bullet fired at the scene of crime came from a 9mm pistol and that they are going through the surveillance camera footage to identify, and later arrest the suspects.
Kami Sid, Pakistan’s first transgender model, stated that the people who opened fire were drunk and forced Chanda Sharmeeli to sit in the car with them. When she retaliated, she was shot on spot.
Speaking about the adversity transgenders face, Kami Sid was of the opinion that the law must be the same for everyone. “It’s time a lesson is learned, people from big families can’t just get away with everything. This society may have found tolerance, but there is no acceptance for the transgender,” Kami went on to say.
Pakistan has had a tough time accepting transgender people. However, in 2009, when Pakistan legally recognized the third gender, it became one of the first countries to do so. In Pakistan’s most recent census since 1998, 10,418 people identified themselves as transgender but an estimate made by the Health Ministry in 2015 says that the number could be as high as 150,000.