Pakistan torch bearer of transgender rights worldwide

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Pakistan may well be considered the torch bearer of transgender rights worldwide, providing the community all fundamental rights, including identification as transgender on the national identity card.

There are notable contributions by the transgender community to the country’s welfare.

Nayyab Ali is the only Pakistani transgender woman to promote Pakistan’s name on international platforms. She has received six international awards, including the Franco-German prize for human rights and the rule of law, and 50+ national awards for her tremendous contribution to the transgender community.

She is a researcher, author, renowned human rights defender, and social scientist with 10 years of professional experience working on gender equality, livelihoods, and economic empowerment.

She is currently working as In-charge Transgender Crime Unit Islamabad Police.

Recently, Nayyab was offered a global award for her work by India but she refused by stating that India should stop its atrocities against Kashmiris.

She is Pakistan’s first transgender to contest for the national polls from NA-142 Okara in 2018 to ensure the representation of the transgender community on all forums.

She has a Master’s in International Relations from Preston University, BS Hons in Botany from Punjab University Lahore, and has a post-graduate degree in Women & Gender studies from HarvardX Virtual University.

Nayyab is a policy expert and has drafted multiple legal frameworks for the federal and provincial governments of Pakistan including Transgender (Protection of Rights) Act 2018, Transgender Welfare Endowment Bill KP, Transgender & Intersex Right Bill KP 2022, Punjab Transgender Protection Bill 2020, and Transgender Welfare Policy Punjab.

She was a member of the former chief justice of Pakistan’s special committee on the status of transgender CNIC registration in Punjab, and a member of the transgender taskforce by the federal ombudsman.

She founded the organisation Transgender Rights Consultants Pakistan (TRCP), which is currently running the Trans Inclusive City (TIC) campaign, a two-year long campaign aimed at mainstreaming her community “through initiating collaboration between public and private entities and commitments to organisational changes”, which has resulted in the first trans police officer and the first ever trans expert in the ministry of human rights.

Nayyab established Pakistan’s first transgender school in Okara with the collaboration of the Non-Formal & Basic Education Department Govt of Punjab where more than 100 transgenders got informal education and raised their level of literacy in 2017. 

She is also Pakistan’s first transgender entrepreneur running a company, namely Transgender Rights Consultants Pakistan, registered with the Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan. She introduced the concept of the “Pink Rupee”, the money contributed by the vulnerable transgender community to the GDP of Pakistan.

She conducted research in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and Ministry of Human Rights Pakistan, titled “Socio-Economic Need Assessment of Transgender Community in the COVID Pandemic” and on the basis of this research, the ministry designed a nationwide COVID relief package for distribution amongst the transgender population of Pakistan.

She built a capacity of more than 160 judges, more than 500 police officers, more than 500 lawyers, more than 500 teachers, more than 1,000 children and more than 200 religious scholars on child rights, child protection and justice for children. She lead the intervention as a part of Group Development Pakistan and in collaboration with different line departments.

She also Developed IEC material for the awareness of Transgender Rights Protection Act 2018 in different languages among more than 5,000 stakeholders.

She has conducted nationwide training of key populations on good practices in Pakistan to counter gender-based violence, including acid and burn violence in Pakistan.

She also drafted Standard Operating Procedures for ICT Police on how to interact with transgenders during a crisis situation.

But it is not only one Nayyab in the country, there are many role models that the transgender community has, such as Natasha Waqas Ahmad who has been working in NADRA since 2011 and is now Senior Executive Office there.

The transgender community also now has its first-ever transgender lawyer, Nisha Rao, and the first transgender doctor, Dr Sarah Gill.