PESHAWAR - In a historic first, the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday issued driving licences to 15 transgender persons.

The licences were issued to transgender persons at a ceremony held in Peshawar, where SSP Traffic Yasir Khan Afridi distributed the licences among them.

Speaking on the occasion, the SSP briefed the audience that 300 transgender persons had applied for driving licence. In the first phase, 15 transgender persons were licensed to drive whereas the rest of applications would be processed gradually, he added.

Two of the recipients were Farzana Riaz and Arzo Khan, residents of Peshawar. Talking to media persons, Senior Superintendent of Police Yasir Afridi said like others the transgender community was also part of the society and they could play an important role in development of the country.

He said the government of Pakistan first issued national identity cards to transgender persons and later they were declared entitled to all facilities including driving licence which was their basic right.

After getting the first ever driving licence issued to a transgender person in KP, Farzana said this development will pave way for transgender persons to earn a respectable livelihood.

She said that most of her community members had gone fed up with dancing and, therefore, searching for alternate professions. Farzana Riaz, who is also the president of the transgender persons’ association, said they were thankful to the SSP Peshawar traffic (operations) and the provincial government for issuing them the driving licence which was one of their basic demands. 

Arzu Khan, who is the general secretary of the TransAction Alliance, said that they were grateful to their allies and supporters in government, civil society and media who made it possible for the transgender community in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to get the driving licence.

The KP transgender protection policy is in their final stage of legislation which aims to make public transportation transgender-friendly and make it accessible to the transgender persons and other vulnerable communities.

Traffic police officials said they would take action against those public transport vehicles which charge extra fare or harass or deny services to the transgender community or other vulnerable communities.