Pakistani traffic authorities have for the first time in the country’s history, issued a driving licence to a transgender woman, Laila Ali, the Dawn reported on Tuesday.
On the special directives of Islamabad’s police chief, who said that Laila had been driving without a licence for a decade, the Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) on Monday issued her the licence.
Laila Ali, who is listed as Mohammad Ali on her driving licence, told Dawn she was visiting the IGP office to discuss the problems faced by the transgender community in Islamabad that also included victimisation by the police. She had earlier approached the police station at Rawalpindi but had not received any encouraging response.
The NGO, which Laila Ali is a part, looks after around 200 transgender women, who are driving without a license due to the issues faced by them. “How will we make driving licences when we face so many problems in making a CNIC,” she asked. CNICs are Computerised National Identity Cards issued by the Pakistan government.
In May this year, the government of Pakistan passed a landmark bill that gave transgender citizens fundamental rights. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act gave transgender citizens the freedom to choose their gender and have that reflected on official documents, such as national IDs, passports and driver’s licenses. It also prohibited discrimination in schools, at the workplace, on public transport and at medical centres. In practice, however, this law will take time to get implemented, though it is supported by various organisations in the country.
Presently there are around 500,000 transgender people in Pakistan. This step is a milestone in the long journey of their struggles towards finding equality and acceptance in the society.
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Picture Credits : The Dawn
Rachna Chandira is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv