Pakistan’s transgender community came out to celebrate the county’s 69th Independence Day with a 700-foot long flag that they meticulously stitched together over 12 days.
Organised by the Sindh chapter of the Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA), hundreds of Khawaja Sarras rolled out the gigantic flag at the Bagh-e-Quaid-e-Azam, previously known as the Polo Ground, in Karachi right before the clock struck 12 on August 13.
Ecstatic and proud of their accomplishment, they walked across the length of the park holding up the flag, shouting “Pakistan Zinadabad!”
Transgenders in Pakistan were awarded the right to register as a third gender on their CNICs in 2012. The Supreme Court had also ordered free education and free health care for the Khawaja Sarra community. However, provincial welfare departments have yet to implement the decision.
As a result, they continue to face discrimination from society. They largely depend on a livelihood of singing and dancing at weddings and birth celebrations. They are also treated as sex objects and often become the victims of violent assault.
However, last night, the open space at Bagh-e-Quaid-e-Azam rang with profound patriotism, thanks to this same community. There is the hope that one day Pakistan’s proudest citizens will stop being stigmatised and discriminated against, and start to gain social recognition in their own country.
According to the vice president of GIA, Mazhar Anjum the making of the flag cost 100,000 rupees .
“We wish to walk abreast all Pakistanis,” GIA’s vice president Mazhar Anjum (left) said. “All we ask for is some respect,” Rani (right) said.
The flag measures 700 feet in length and 50 feet in breadth.
The tiniest patriot at Karachi’s Bagh-e-Quaid-e-Azam.