Pakistan police find beheaded body of transgender person

PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN (AFP) - The beheaded body of a transgender person has been found in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar, officials said Sunday (Oct 22), the latest attack on the community in the deeply conservative country.

The decomposed body of a person aged about 25 had been dumped on farmland in the city's low-income district of Tehkal. It was discovered late Saturday.

The body was not identified and was buried early Sunday after photos and fingerprints were taken, local police official Zahoor Ahmad told AFP.

He said police had started investigations and were trying to identify the victim.

In 2009 Pakistan became one of the first countries in the world to legally recognise a third sex, allowing transgender people to obtain identity cards. Several have also run in elections.

Despite this, many transgender Pakistanis face rampant discrimination and are forced to live as pariahs, often reduced to begging or prostitution and subjected to extortion and violence.

According to census data released last August Pakistan's transgender community numbered just over 10,000 people.

But past studies by non-profit groups and development organisations have put the size of the community in the hundreds of thousands.