Admiring the Sindh police for their unprecedented decision to recruit transgender persons, the community’s representatives have demanded that the government allocate a quota for them in government jobs in accordance with past orders of the higher and superior courts.
Sindh police chief Dr Syed Kaleem Imam had announced on Monday that transgender persons will be provided five per cent of the jobs in the provincial law enforcement department for the first time. IGP Imam said that they will be employed to perform duties at different offices of the police force.
Transgender persons and activists campaigning for their rights have welcomed Dr Imam’s announcement, but at the same time, they worry that the decision will not dismantle the decades of stigma and prejudice against the community.
Gender Interactive Alliance chief Bindiya Rana said that recruitment of transgender persons in the police force will help decrease violence and discrimination against the community. “They are a part of society so they cannot be neglected at any cost.”
Bindiya said that the Sindh police did not give the details of the quota for transgender persons and its procedure. She said that transgender persons often hesitate to lodge FIRs against harassment and violence they face because they do not feel safe talking to male officers about such cases.
Muskan, a transgender person in Malir, said that it would be like a dream come true if there is a job quota for them in government jobs. She seeks sufficient income to support her community.
People must advocate for the transgender community to get their basic rights so they become a part of the social fabric, she added. She demanded that the authorities take steps for the well-being of transgender persons to make their lives better.
Transgender rights activists said that the issues faced by the community in Pakistan are multifaceted and all of them are rooted in their exclusion from society. Karachi-based rights activist Rana Asif Habib said that employment opportunities are limited for the community because majority of them have little or no education. “Many have to endure ridicule by dancing in the streets or at weddings to scrape a living, or they simply resort to begging.”
He said that by giving transgender persons job opportunities in the government and private sectors, citizens can be sensitised to becoming more inclusive towards the community.