Pakistan opened its first transgender protection center in the capital city of Islamabad, in a ceremony attended by the federal Minister for Human Rights, Dr. Shireen Mazari, who promised to open more.
Speaking at the inauguration on Wednesday, Mazari said the country must do more to ensure the rights and opportunities of trans people in Pakistan. “The transgender community should be given the same health and employment rights as other Pakistani citizens,” said the minister.
He said the new center in Islamabad would provide transgender people with legal assistance, basic health facilities, psychological counseling and temporary shelter for those most in need in the community.
The transgender community has been included within Pakistan’s strategy to alleviate poverty and health initiatives, Mazari said, adding that he hoped this project would open up new opportunities.
The new center will also carry out activities within the wider community to promote awareness of transgender people and their plight in Pakistan. Mazari promised that more centers, such as the one in the capital, would be opened across the country.
Transgender people are often considered outcasts in notoriously conservative Pakistan. The government has tried to respond and in 2018 passed a law that legally recognizes transgender people with the ratification of the Transgender People (Protection of Rights) Act.
In July 2021, the government opened its first school for transgender students in the city of Multan, Punjab province.
Last year, a group of transgender women was attacked by a gunman as they returned home after performing at a wedding performance outside Peshawar. One died from his injuries, while another was injured.
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