Transgender Person Shot Dead In Karachi Attack

Pakistani officials say gunmen have killed a transgender person in the southern port city of Karachi in the latest attack targeting the marginalized community in the conservative Muslim country.

Police officer Aurangzeb Khattak said the shooting took place late on August 30 in an upscale neighborhood of Karachi.

He said passengers travelling in a car initially threw eggs at a group of transgender people and then opened fire before fleeing. One bullet killed a person, identified as Chanda, on the spot.

Another police officer, Saqib Ismail, said the dead victim was accompanied by a friend.

Investigators were said to be using surveillance camera footage to trace the vehicle of the attackers and arrest them.

Early results for Pakistan's census released this week show that the country’s total population of transgender people stood at 10,418. Punjab Province is home to 64.4 percent of the community followed by Sindh with 24 percent, according to Samaa TV.

In 2009, Pakistan became one of the first countries in the world to legally recognize a third gender, allowing transgender people to obtain identity cards and vote. Several members of the community have also run in elections.

Despite these progresses, many of them continue to face rampant discrimination, are reduced to begging or prostitution, and subjected to extortion and violence.

Transgender people in Pakistan -- locally known as Khusra or Heejra -- claim to be cultural heirs of the eunuchs who served as senior courtiers to the Indian subcontinent’s Mughal rulers in the 17th and 18th centuries, before being banned under the British rule.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Samaa TV