Pakistan uses transwomen as tax collectors and the deadbeats are paying up

‘In a bright pink salwar kameeez and matching headscarf, Nargis marches around one of Pakistan’s richest neighbourhoods on a mission to embarrass residents into paying their taxes.

‘Armed with a bundle of paperwork, the 32-year-old raps on the gate of a mansion whilst a pick-up truck full of guards and tax officials remains at a distance.

‘The householder who answers grins nervously at Nargis, who is a ”hijra” – a member of Pakistan’s increasingly assertive transgender community. With a sheepish look to see whether anyone is watching from the street, the owner meekly accepts a bill for outstanding property tax and municipal fees.

‘Given his effusive promises to pay, there is no need for what Qazi Aftab, the head of tax collection for the Clifton Cantonment Board in Karachi, calls ”the nuclear option” – clapping, shouting and making a scene. ”Because of the neighbours they get very embarrassed,” he said. ”Usually just one minute of shouting is enough and then they pay up.”’

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