KARACHI - Police in Sindh capital are using surveillance camera footage to investigate an incident of targetted killing that began with harassment and ended with murder of a transgender person.

Chanda Sharmeeli and her three transgender fellows were standing at Shahbaz Commercial, DHA Phase-VI, when they came under a gun attack by unidentified persons driving a 4WD vehicle with tinted glasses.

On the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, the attackers first harassed the group by throwing rotten eggs at them before returning to the scene and firing gunshots at them, resulting in Chanda’s death.

"The bullet hit the jaw (of the victim) who died of that shot," senior police officer Saqib Ismail told AFP.

Darakshan SHO Aurangzeb Khattab said that the rest of three narrowly escaped the gun attack but Chanda was hit by bullets. "We are investigating the murder, and from what we can understand so far, is that this was a personal argument gone too far," the officer said. "It doesn't seem like there was a history of animosity."

Chanda, who died on the spot, belonged to a middle class family residing in Korangi No. 2.5 but she was not living with her family from the last few years. Her body was shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre where she was pronounced dead.

SHO Khattak suspected that the transgender persons knew the culprits as they might have been met them earlier but it would take time as the investigation was in preliminary stage.

Khattak said shell casings from a 9mm pistol found at the scene have been sent to the forensic division, and that investigators were using surveillance camera footage to trace the SUV and arrest the culprits.

“We are now trying to obtain the CCTV footages as well as recording the witness accounts,” the officer explained.

The police registered an FIR No. 440/17 under Section 302 against unidentified persons on the complained of Anwar Masih, father of the deceased.

In 2009, Pakistan became one of the first countries in the world to legally recognise a third sex, allowing transgenders to obtain identity cards, while several have also run in elections.

Despite these strides, many transgender Pakistanis face rampant discrimination and are forced to live as pariahs, often reduced to begging or prostitution and subjected to extortion and violence.

The killing comes as transgender activists dismissed early results from a long-awaited national census that aimed to record the community's population for the first time.

According to data released this week officials said Pakistan's transgender community comprised just over 10,000 people, prompting outrage from activists who said the government survey was inaccurate. The findings stand in stark contrast to much larger estimates from past studies conducted by non-profits and development organisations that put the community's population in the hundreds of thousands.

"From my personal interactions in the community, I know of more than 900 transgender people in [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa}", said Farzana Riaz, head of Transaction, a Pakistan-based trans-rights organisation.

"In the whole of Pakistan, there must be hundreds of thousands... but the census has erased the presence of transgender people," she added.