The Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) on Monday issued a licence to a transgender woman for the first time on the special directives of the capital police’s chief.
The inspector general of police (IGP) issued the directives that the woman, Laila Ali, had been driving her car without a licence for a decade.
Laila Ali, who is listed as Mohammad Ali on her CNIC and driving licence, told Dawn she was visiting the IGP office to discuss the issues and problems faced by the transgender community in the federal capital, including victimisation by the police. She said that about a fortnight ago, the police had registered a false case against some transgender women and arrested them.
She said that during discussions, the IGP came to know that she owned a car but has been driving it without a licence. She said the police chief assured her that problems faced by the transgender community will be addressed and offered to issue her a driving licence from ITP.
Ms Ali said the IGP asked her why she did not have a licence yet and that she told him she had requested the Rawalpindi police once but was not given an encouraging response.
“When he offered me a licence, I agreed on the spot as I have wanted a driving licence for so long,” she said, adding that the IGP called the senior superintendent of police (SSP) traffic and asked him to make Ms Ali’s driving licence.
Citizens whose address on their CNICs are outside the capital territory cannot apply to the ITP for a driving licence except if they come with a recommendation. Laila Ali said her NGO looks after some 200 transgender women, all of whom are driving cars without a licence.
“How will we make driving licences when we face so many problems in making a CNIC,” she asked.
Originally published in Dawn, November 27th, 2018