Group of transgender people abused in Rawalpindi
Group of transgender people in Rawalpindi. Illustrative image. Image Credit: Twitter/@RwpPolice

Karachi: The federal government has announced the enrolment of the underprivileged people belonging to the transgender community in its flagship poverty alleviation initiative for providing them with regular financial assistance.

This will be the first time that the members of the marginalised transgender community will benefit from the financial assistance programme of the government.

Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, Shazia Marri, announced that the deserving members of the transgender community would be enrolled in the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) for their financial assistance.

She said the poor people belonging to the transgender community were valuable members of society as the government was under an obligation to ensure their welfare as it did take care of other underprivileged sections of the population.

She said the prospective transgender persons were first required to visit the centres of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to get their transgender status duly shown on the computerised national identity cards (CNICs).

After updating of the CNICs, the transgender people will visit the BISP office in their area to get themselves registered in the database of the poverty alleviation programme.

The Minister said that after successful registration the applicant would receive a text message from the number “8171” intimating that the beneficiary would receive Rs7,000 as financial assistance on a quarterly basis under the BISP.

Target: 12 million

A spokesman for the BISP told Gulf News that at present around eight million needy women in the country were duly enrolled for receiving financial assistance on a quarterly basis.

He said the announcement to enroll the needy transgender people was in line with the aim of the BISP to increase the number of its beneficiaries in the country to around 12 million with the support of the NADRA.

He said the beneficiaries of the BISP apart from quarterly financial assistance also received Rs2,000 monthly allowance due to hike in prices of essential products whereas scholarships were also provided for the education of their children.

Bandiya Rana, a leader of the Pakistani transgender community, welcomed the announcement by the government while stating that the policy decision was a good start to ensure the welfare of the needy transgender people.

She urged the authorities to make sure that prospective transgender people didn’t face any hardship in the process of updating their CNICs to become eligible to get enrolled for the BISP.

She said rough estimates showed that there were up to 600,000 transgender people in the country and a vast majority of them should benefit from the BISP as they were very poor and mostly involved in street beggary.