SUKKUR: Armed with a National Identity Card for the first time in the community’s history, transgender Sanam Fakir declares that she’s committed to contesting the next general elections.
“I will struggle to end corruption in politics,” she said. The president of the Sanam Welfare Association and the focal person for the transgendered peoples in Sindh, Sanam believes that corruption has become a cancer for society and Pakistan.
Unlike members of other political parties calling for early elections, Sanam Fakir believes the current government should complete its tenure – irrespective of its performance.
“The present government should be allowed to complete its tenure and then the people of Pakistan will decide their fate in the next general elections. The dictators ruled the country for years at gunpoint,” Fakir said, “Why are we not ready to let a democratic government complete its term?”
Sanam Fakir thanked Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, crediting him for the injunction enabling transgendered people to acquire NICs. “Earlier, people treated us like the plague and used to hate us but now they have started respecting us like other citizens.”
According to Fakir, transgendered people do not indulge in corruption because they don’t have families. “We just need a respectable shelter and two meals a day.” Fakir also called on the government to provide them jobs, since it was people like them who could bring about a ‘revolutionary change’ if given a chance to serve.
According to Fakir, 3,500 of the 17,000-strong transgendered community in the province have been given NICs and the Election Commission of Pakistan has begun registering their names in voter lists. But Fakir complained that while the Sindh government appointed her a focal person for the community in the province, it is doing nothing for their welfare.
She did credit the Sukkur district administration for cooperating with the association and granting it funds. They have asked the provincial government to additionally provide shelter for those in need and a budget.
Sanam Fakir also praised President Asif Ali Zardari - declaring him a very sensible politician – as well as PPP founder and the late former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his daughter, Benazir. “I have heard from my elders that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a great politician and human being.” Fakir also remarked that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairperson Imran Khan seems committed to working for the people and should be given a chance.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2012.