Gunmen kill transgender person in Pakistan's Karachi
Karachi (AFP) - Unknown gunmen killed a transgender person in Pakistan's port city of Karachi Wednesday, police said, in the latest attack to target the marginalised community in the deeply conservative country.
The attackers initially threw eggs from a moving car at the victim and her friend before returning to the scene and firing gunshots at the pair.
"The bullet hit the jaw (of the victim) who died of that shot," senior police officer Saqib Ismail told AFP.
In 2009, Pakistan became one of the first countries in the world to legally recognise a third sex, allowing transgenders to obtain identity cards, while several have also run in elections.
Despite these strides, many transgender Pakistanis face rampant discrimination and are forced to live as pariahs, often reduced to begging or prostitution and subjected to extortion and violence.
The killing comes as transgender activists dismissed early results from a long-awaited national census that aimed to record the community's population for the first time.
According to data released this week officials said Pakistan's transgender community comprised just over 10,000 people, prompting outrage from activists who said the government survey was inaccurate.
The findings stand in stark contrast to much larger estimates from past studies conducted by non-profits and development organisations that put the community's population in the hundreds of thousands.
"From my personal interactions in the community, I know of more than 900 transgender people in [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province}", said Farzana Riaz, head of Transaction, a Pakistan-based trans-rights organisation.
"In the whole of Pakistan, there must be hundreds of thousands... but the census has erased the presence of transgender people," she added.
Pakistan had not held a census for nearly two decades due to years of bickering by politicians concerned it could redraw the political map and potentially weaken their power base and access to federal funding.