Pakistan is set to include transgender people in its national census for the first time this year.
The Lahore High Court ruled that the government, National Database and Registration Authority must include the trans community in the 2017 census.
The petition said that being part of the transgender community led to less respect in society, which was not helped by blocked access to national identity cards.
It also said the transgender community had been socially isolated but as a human beings they equally deserve respect, honour and opportunities to excel in life in the country.
“We are glad that we will be counted as will be other people,” transgender rights worker Almas Bobby told Reuters. “Hope we get equal citizenship and equal status.”
Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah passed the order, issuing directives to enforce the transgender community’s basic rights.
Currently it the number of trans Pakistani citizens are unknown, but advocacy group Trans Action estimates a population of 500,000 people are identifying as trans in the country.
Transgender citizens were granted equal rights in 2012 by the Supreme Court, but that has proved to do very little for the community as continued reports of violence and discrimination are made.
Alesha, a transgender activist in Pakistan was shot multiple times by a gang member. When admitted to The Lady Reading Hospital, doctors failed to treat her injuries straight away.
The victim, Kashi, was shot in the thigh when three armed men broke into her home, in Mansehra, and attempted to rape her.
With a population of 190 million, Pakistan is believed to be the sixth largest country in the world.
The last census carried out was in 1998, at a time when the population was calculated to be 132 million.