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Farzana Riaz

Farzana Riaz

HRD, President
TransAction Alliance
Firstpost Article

Pakistan issues first third-gender passport to transgender activist Farzana Riaz

Farzana Jan is a trans rights activist from the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in northwestern Pakistan. She is the president and co-founder of the organisation Trans-Action. TransAction – founded in 2015 - represents thousands of transgender and intersex community from 25 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA). TransAction strives to support transgender and intersex individuals through providing safe spaces for them. It works to raise awareness through education and training to the transgender and intersex community, their families and general society, keeping in mind the languages and cultural contexts.

Farzana and her organisation have been working to challenge the stigma and discrimination faced by the transgender community in the country, which is increasingly under attack. In the past two years, at least 46 trans people have been killed in Pakistan. Killings were often preceded by threats and violent attacks, which largely went unreported.

Thanks to Farzana and Trans-Action’s tireless efforts, in December 2016 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s provincial assembly unanimously passed a resolution calling on the federal government to ensure voting rights for transgender people. The government also announced it will work on a trans rights protection policy and set up a special committee, to look into the recent wave of attacks, as well as implement protection mechanisms for the trans community.


Pakistan is one of the most challenging countries in the region for human rights defenders, who face high risks including killing, arbitrary arrest and detention, abduction and kidnapping, surveillance, threats and judicial harassment. Many HRDs have had their offices attacked or burnt down and their colleagues killed.