India

FILE PHOTO: The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney leaves after a news conference at the Bank of England in London
FILE PHOTO: The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney leaves after a news conference at the Bank of England in London, Britain February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool/File Photo

April 24, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is searching for a new governor of the Bank of England to succeed Mark Carney in early 2020.

Finance minister Philip Hammond is hoping that concerns about Brexit will not deter potential applicants.

Below are possible contenders to run the BoE which oversees the world’s fifth-biggest economy and its huge finance industry.

ANDREW BAILEY

The former deputy BoE governor was tipped by analysts as Carney’s most likely successor. But delays to the search, after Carney extended his time in London, have raised questions about whether Hammond sees him as the best candidate.

Bailey, 60, was deputy governor with a focus on banks before becoming chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, a markets regulator.

While at the BoE, Bailey helped to steer Britain’s banks through the global financial crisis.

Heading the FCA is fraught with risks. Lawmakers criticised Bailey for not publishing all of a report into alleged misconduct by bank RBS. Bailey cited privacy restrictions.

As FCA boss, Bailey sits on important panels at the BoE that oversee banks. Although he has never been interest-rate setter, he once ran the BoE international economic analysis team.

RAGHURAM RAJAN

Rajan, 56, headed the Reserve Bank of India from 2013 to 2016, and was chief economist at the International Monetary Fund between 2003 and 2006 when he warned of the risk of a financial crisis.

Now a professor at Chicago Booth business school, Rajan has published a book on dissatisfaction with markets and the state – touching on some of the underlying issues behind Brexit.

Rajan unexpectedly did not seek a renewal of his three-year term at the RBI, having faced hostility from some sections of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP party who disliked his less nationalist stance and brief forays into political territory.

Rajan declined to comment when asked by Reuters last week whether he would consider a return to active policymaking.

MINOUCHE SHAFIK

Egyptian-born Shafik, 57, was a BoE deputy governor between 2014 and 2017, in charge of markets and banking, including the central bank’s asset purchase programme. She quit the job early to become director of the London School of Economics.

Between 2008 and 2011 she was the top civil servant at Britain’s ministry for overseas aid and was then deputy managing director at the International Monetary Fund, where she represented the fund in the Greek debt crisis.

Shafik would become the first woman to head the BoE, and was only its second female deputy governor.

BEN BROADBENT AND DAVE RAMSDEN

Broadbent, 54, and Ramsden, 55, are deputy governors for monetary policy and for markets and banking respectively.

Broadbent, a former Goldman Sachs economist who trained as a classical pianist, is respected for his economic analysis but has less experience on banking oversight.

Ramsden was the Treasury’s chief economic advisor.

The two other BoE deputy governors, Jon Cunliffe and Sam Woods, are less likely contenders. Woods focuses mostly on financial regulation while Cunliffe – a former British ambassador to the European Union – would be aged 66 at the start of the term which usually runs for eight years.

SHRITI VADERA

Vadera, 56, has no central banking experience but is seen as a contender due to her current role as non-executive chairwoman of Santander UK, one of Britain’s biggest banks, and her time as a junior business minister during the financial crisis.

Vadera served as a minister from 2007 to 2009 after a career in investment banking and a period at the finance ministry.

In 2008, she was part of a small group of ministers and officials who devised a plan worth hundreds of billions of pounds in loan guarantees to keep high-street banks in business.

ANDY HALDANE

The BoE’s chief economist, Haldane has developed a reputation for floating unconventional ideas, including the possibility that music apps such as Spotify and multiplayer online games might give central bankers just as a good a sense of what is going on in the economy as traditional surveys.

In 2012, he praised the anti-capitalist Occupy movement for suggesting new ways to fix the shortcomings of global finance. Haldane has experience of both sides of the BoE, having served as executive director for financial stability, overseeing the risks to the economy from the banking system. But he might be seen as too much of a maverick to take the job of governor.

A LABOUR PARTY GOVERNOR?

The prospect of the left-wing Labour Party taking power has grown as Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to break the Brexit impasse.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his would-be finance minister John McDonnell are socialists and have in the past proposed that the BoE should fund investment in infrastructure, a big change from its current focus on inflation.

Former members of Labour’s economic advisory committee included U.S. academic and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz and Ann Pettifor, a British economist who is an austerity critic, and former BoE rate-setter David Blanchflower.

(Writing by William Schomberg and David Milliken, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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FILE PHOTO: A tugboat escorts French Navy frigate Vendemiaire on arrival for a goodwill visit at a port in Metro Manila
FILE PHOTO: Tugboat escorts French Navy frigate Vendemiaire on arrival for a 5-day goodwill visit at a port in Metro Manila, Philippines March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco/File Photo

April 24, 2019

By Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A French warship passed through the strategic Taiwan Strait this month, U.S. officials told Reuters, a rare voyage by a vessel of a European country that is likely to be welcomed by Washington but increase tensions with Beijing.

The passage is a sign that U.S. allies are increasingly asserting freedom of navigation in international waterways near China. It could open the door for other allies, such as Japan and Australia, to consider similar operations.

The French operation comes amid increasing tensions between the United States and China. Taiwan is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which also include a trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom of navigation patrols.

Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a French military vessel carried out the transit in the narrow waterway between China and Taiwan on April 6.

One of the officials identified the warship as the French frigate Vendemiaire and said it was shadowed by the Chinese military. The official was not aware of any previous French military passage through the Taiwan Strait.

The officials said that as a result of the passage, China notified France it was no longer invited to a naval parade to mark the 70 years since the founding of China’s Navy. Warships from India, Australia and several other nations participated.

Colonel Patrik Steiger, the spokesman for France’s military chief of staff, declined to comment on an operational mission.

The U.S. officials did not speculate on the purpose of the passage or whether it was designed to assert freedom of navigation.

MOUNTING TENSIONS

The French strait passage comes against the backdrop of increasingly regular passages by U.S. warships through the strategic waterway. Last month the United States sent Navy and Coast Guard ships through the Taiwan Strait.

The passages upset China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory. Beijing has been ramping up pressure to assert its sovereignty over the island.

Chen Chung-chi, spokesman for Taiwan’s defense ministry, told Reuters by phone the strait is part of busy international waters and it is “a necessity” for vessels from all countries to transit through it. He said Taiwan’s defense ministry will continue to monitor movement of foreign vessels in the region.

There was no immediate comment from China’s foreign or defense ministries.

“This is an important development both because of the transit itself but also because it reflects a more geopolitical approach by France towards China and the broader Asia Pacific,” said Abraham Denmark, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia.

The transit is a sign that countries like France are not only looking at China through the lens of trade but from a military standpoint as well, Denmark said.

Last month France and China signed deals worth billions of euros during a visit to Paris by Chinese President Xi Jinping. French President Emmanuel Macron wants to forge a united European front to confront Chinese advances in trade and technology.

“It is important to have other countries operating in Asia to demonstrate that this is just not a matter of competition between Washington and Beijing, that what China has been doing represents a broader challenge to a liberal international order,” Denmark, who is currently with the Woodrow Wilson Center think-tank in Washington, added.

Washington has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help provide the democratically ruled island with the means to defend itself and is its main source of arms.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart in Washington; Additional reporting by Sophie Louet in Paris, Yimou Lee in Taipei and Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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FILE PHOTO: A suspected illegal miner climbs out of a ventilation shaft in Benoni
FILE PHOTO: A suspected illegal miner climbs out of a ventilation shaft used to access an abandoned gold shaft in Benoni, east of Johannesburg, February 17, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

April 24, 2019

By Peter Hobson

LONDON (Reuters) – More than 40 million people around the world work in artisanal and small-scale mining where minerals including gold, diamonds and cobalt are dug up often by hand, a report by the World Bank and development organization Pact said on Wednesday.

Increasing demand for metals and rising prices have triggered a boom in small-scale mining in recent years, mainly in poorer countries in South America, Africa and Asia.

These mines are a vital source of income for communities, but many operate outside the law and leak chemicals into rocks, soil and rivers. Working conditions can be appalling, and the metal and stones dug up are often smuggled across borders on a vast scale, sometimes by criminal operations.

Billions of dollars worth of gold is being smuggled out of Africa, a Reuters investigation found this week.

The World Bank and Pact said too little was known about how many people worked in small mines and previous estimates, which were often far lower than 40 million, tended to be partial or rely on outdated data.

“It’s time to shine a light on this vital sector so we can accelerate investments in people and communities for greater equity and sustainable economic growth,” Riccardo Puliti, the World Bank’s head of energy and extractives global practice, said in a statement.

The report said 16.3 million people worked in small-scale mining in South Asia, of which 12 million were in India, and 9.8 million people in East Asia and the Pacific, of which 9 million were in China.

Another 9.9 million people worked in sub-Saharan Africa, the report said, with 2 million in the Democratic Republic of Congo and between 1 and 1.5 million each in Sudan, Ghana and Tanzania.

Just over 2 million people work in the industry in Latin America and the Caribbean, with 1.9 million more in the Middle East and North Africa and 100,000 in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, it said.

Thirty percent of the workers globally were women, the report found.

Minerals mined in small-scale and artisanal mines include gold and diamonds, used for jewelry and investment, and tin, tungsten, tantalum and cobalt consumed in industry, electronics and batteries that power electric vehicles.

(Reporting by Peter Hobson; editing by David Evans)

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The logo for Procter & Gamble Co. is displayed on a screen on the floor of the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO: The logo for Procter & Gamble Co. is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

April 24, 2019

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian tax authorities have alleged U.S. consumer goods maker Procter & Gamble did not pass on more than $35 million in tax benefits which were meant to have gone to its customers, a senior government official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Separately, the authorities are also investigating South Korea’s Samsung Electronics, the official added.

India’s National Anti-Profiteering Authority, a quasi-judicial body set up following the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax in 2017, found P&G had not reduced its prices on many products after a cut in tax rates on those items, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

P&G told Reuters it denied the allegation.

“We have passed the net benefit and communicated the same via advertising in mass media. As a responsible corporate, P&G has always been committed to passing the net benefit of GST rate reduction to the consumers,” it said in a statement.

Samsung said it had acted in accordance with the rules.

“Samsung reduced its sales price according to GST (Goods and Services Tax) reduction with effect from January 1, 2019. We are cooperating with DGAP (Directorate General of Anti Profiteering) on this matter,” the company said in a statement.

Under Indian law, companies had to pass on the benefits to customers after the government reduced the tax rate to 18 percent from 28 percent, and to 5 percent from 12 percent on many consumer durables and FMCGs (fast-moving consumer goods).

“P&G has been issued a notice to submit its reply on April 29 and explain why action should not be taken against it,” the official, with direct knowledge of the inquiry, told Reuters.

The authority will pass a final order in the next three months, the official added.

After an initial investigation, companies are given an opportunity to defend themselves before the authority passes a final order, which can be challenged in India’s higher courts.

($1 = 69.9510 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Manoj Kumar in NEW DELHI, Sankalp Phartiyal in MUMBAI and Nivedita Bhattacharjee in BENGALURU; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih talks during the 23rd World Energy Congress in Istanbul
FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih talks during the 23rd World Energy Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, October 10, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

April 24, 2019

By Saeed Azhar and Stephen Kalin

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said on Wednesday he saw no need to raise oil output immediately after the United States ends waivers granted to buyers of Iranian crude, but added that the kingdom would respond to customers’ needs if asked for more oil.

Khalid al-Falih said he was guided by oil market fundamentals not prices, and that the world’s top oil exporter remained focused on balancing the global oil market.

“Inventories are actually continuing to rise despite what is happening in Venezuela and despite the tightening of sanctions on Iran. I don’t see the need to do anything immediately,” Falih said in Riyadh.

The United States has decided not to renew exemptions from sanctions against Iran granted last year to buyers of Iranian oil, taking a tougher line than expected.

“Our intent is to remain within our voluntary (OPEC) production limit,” Falih said, adding that Riyadh would “be responsive to our customers, especially those who have been under waivers and those whose waivers have been withdrawn.”

“We think there will be an uptick in real demand but certainly we are not going to be pre-emptive and increase production,” the minister said.

He said Saudi Arabia’s oil production in May was pretty much set with very little variation from the last couple of months. June crude allocations would be decided early next month, he said.

The kingdom’s exports in April will be below 7 million barrels per day (bpd), while production is around 9.8 million bpd, Saudi officials have said. Under the OPEC-led deal on supply cuts, Saudi Arabia can pump up to 10.3 million bpd.

Falih said there would most likely be “some level of production management beyond June” by OPEC and its allies, but it was too early to predict the output targets now.

Oil prices rallied to their highest level since November after Washington announced all waivers on imports of sanctions-hit Iranian oil would end next week, pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran and further tightening global supply.

Eight countries, including China and India, were granted waivers for six months, and several had expected those exemptions to be renewed.

Brent crude futures fell on Wednesday, trading at $74.18 per barrel at 0848 GMT, after the International Energy Agency said oil markets were “adequately supplied” and “global spare production capacity remains at comfortable levels.”

A senior U.S. administration official said on Monday that Trump was confident Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates would fulfill pledges to compensate for any shortfall in the oil market following Washington’s decision to end the Iran waivers.

OPEC and industry sources told Reuters on Tuesday that Gulf OPEC producers could meet any oil supply shortage but would first wait to see whether there was actual demand.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, agreed to cut output by 1.2 million bpd. They meet on June 25-26 to decide whether to extend the pact.

A panel of energy ministers from major oil producers, known as the JMMC, meets on May 19 to discuss the oil market and make recommendations before the June meeting, OPEC sources said.

(Writing by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Dale Hudson and Edmund Blair)

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of TikTok application is seen on a mobile phone screen in this picture illustration taken
FILE PHOTO: The logo of TikTok application is seen on a mobile phone screen in this picture illustration taken February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Illustration/File Photo

April 24, 2019

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – An Indian state court on Wednesday moved to lift a ban on popular video app TikTok in the country, two lawyers involved in the case said, in a boost for its developer Beijing Bytedance Technology Co.

Earlier this month, the court in the southern state of Tamil Nadu ordered the federal government to prohibit TikTok downloads, saying the app was encouraging pornography.

Acting upon instructions from the federal IT ministry, Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google last week removed TikTok from their Indian app stores.

But on Wednesday, hearing a plea from Bytedance, the state court reversed its April 3 decision pushing for the ban, the lawyers said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the IT ministry would revoke its instructions to Apple and Google.

TikTok allows users to create and share short videos with special effects and is one of the world’s most popular apps. It has been downloaded by nearly 300 million users so far in India, out of more than 1 billion downloads globally, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.

The ban worried the social media industry in India as it sees legal worries mounting if courts increasingly regulate content on their platforms.

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Sudarshan Varadhan; Edited by Martin Howell and Mark Potter)

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FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi
FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, February 20, 2019. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

April 24, 2019

By Stephen Kalin and Saeed Azhar

RIYADH (Reuters) – Global finance chiefs who boycotted a Saudi investment summit last year following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi returned to Riyadh this week as the Gulf kingdom gets business back on track.

Dozens of Western politicians and business executives pulled out of Saudi Arabia’s showcase summit in October amid global uproar over Khashoggi’s killing at the hands of Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate three weeks earlier.

A Saudi court has charged 11 suspects in a secretive trial and Western allies imposed sanctions on individuals. But Riyadh still faces criticism with some Western governments saying Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder. Saudi authorities have denied any connection to the country’s de facto ruler.

Big investors in Saudi Arabia appear to be focused on potential deals in the largest Arab economy and the world’s top oil exporter as it opens up under a transformation drive led by Prince Mohammed.

HSBC CEO John Flint and Blackrock CEO Larry Fink, who had stayed away from last year’s event, joined panels at the two-day financial forum that began on Wednesday, as did co-president of JPMorgan Chase & Co, Daniel Pinto.

“This is an economy that we have a lot of confidence in, I think the future is bright,” Flint told the gathering. “We are excited about the role that we can continue to play here.”

Fink told another panel: “The changes here in the kingdom in the last two years are pretty amazing.”

The CEO of the London Stock Exchange, who had pulled out of last year’s event, is also scheduled to speak at the financial conference. Also slated to attend is the chairman of Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, whose CEO decided to abstain from the October summit.

Riyadh has been trying for months to refocus attention on its reforms, sending a senior delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos and unveiling an industrial plan to attract hundreds of billions of dollars in investments in January.

The summit is taking place days after Saudi security forces thwarted an attack on a state security building in central Riyadh province, which authorities blamed on Islamic State.

On Tuesday Saudi Arabia announced it had executed 37 people in connection with terrorism crimes, the majority of whom were Shi’ite Muslims. Amnesty International criticized the executions as a “gruesome indication of how the death penalty is being used as a political tool to crush dissent” in the kingdom.

Asked how Saudi Arabia was addressing national security issues, Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan told the audience the Gulf region is “one of the safest worldwide”.

“These incidents will happen,” he said of the Riyadh province attack. “We are working with the world to make sure that we combat the financing of terrorism… and we work very closely with the West and the regional forces to make sure that we intercept and fight terrorism.”

MARKET CONFIDENCE

Earlier this month, state oil giant Saudi Aramco received more than $100 billion in orders for its first international bond issue, a record breaking vote of market confidence.

Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told the forum that Aramco would be active in debt markets and that the $12 billion it raised in its debut bond issue was “only the beginning”.

The Saudi stock market has also seen an upsurge in foreign fund flows since the start of 2019 as the market enters global emerging market benchmarks. The index is up nearly 18 percent year-to-date, one of the best performing markets in the region.

The domestic financial sector is seeing a relative uptick in activity this year, fueled by an economic recovery from higher oil prices and government-led spending on big projects.

Jadaan told the forum that the ministry is launching a 12.5 billion riyal($3.33 billion)initiative to support private sector growth in the kingdom.

While some foreign investors are pushing ahead, other firms continue to keep Saudi Arabia at arm’s length, fearing a potential backlash at home over Khashoggi’s murder, the Yemen war and Riyadh’s detention of women’s rights activists.

Virgin Group last year suspended talks with the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) over a planned $1 billion investment. Hollywood talent agency Endeavor and PIF “parted ways” after talks on the fund investing $400 million, a source familiar with the matter has said.

(Editing by William Maclean)

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Uber's logo is displayed on a mobile phone in London
FILE PHOTO: Uber’s logo is displayed on a mobile phone in London, Britain, September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

April 24, 2019

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc said on Wednesday the head of its Asia-Pacific operations will leave the company at the end of next month, and will be replaced by Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty.

Amit Jain had joined the app-based ride-hailing company as its India operations chief in 2015 and had taken over as head of Uber’s Asia-Pacific business last year.

The company, which recently unveiled its IPO plans, said https://ubr.to/2vjtq22 Gore-Coty, who heads its EMEA rides business, will also take charge of the Asia-Pacific business.

He will work to “unlock opportunity markets such as Japan and South Korea, and continue our strong momentum in markets such as India and Australia,” Chief Operating Officer Barney Harford said in a statement.

San Francisco-based Uber counts India as one of its major growth markets and has been locked in a fierce battle with homegrown rival Ola for years.

(Reporting by Derek Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)

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FILE PHOTO - The Twitter logo displayed on a screen on the floor of the NYSE
FILE PHOTO: The Twitter logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

April 24, 2019

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. social media company Twitter will launch a new tool next week to make it easier for users to flag deliberate attempts to mislead voters taking part in key European Parliament elections next month.

Twitter, together with Google and Facebook, are under pressure to be more proactive in tackling fake news aimed at eroding democratic processes and stoking social and political tensions.

The European Commission in its March report on the three tech giants on Tuesday said the companies still fell short of their pledge to curb the spread of fake news.

“Today, we are further expanding our enforcement capabilities in this area by creating a dedicated reporting feature within the product to allow users to more easily report this content to us,” Twitter said in a blog.

Users who see a tweet with misleading information can report this by clicking on a drop down menu, select “It’s misleading about voting”, choose an option that explains how the tweet is misleading and submit the report to Twitter.

Examples of misleading information include telling voters to vote via a text message, email or phone call, identification requirements, the announced date or time of an election.

The new tool will be available from April 29 to a week after the May 23-26 European Parliament elections. It will be rolled out in India, where general elections are now ongoing, on Thursday.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)

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Shahzadi Rai, 29, a transgender woman and activist, poses during an interview with Reuters in Karachi
Shahzadi Rai, 29, a transgender woman and activist, poses during an interview with Reuters at her home in Karachi, Pakistan April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

April 24, 2019

By Syed Raza Hassan

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) – Transgender people in Pakistan’s Sindh province will be able to serve as regular duty police officers, the police chief said, adding it was time to offer more opportunities to a group relegated to menial jobs in government.

After years of sometimes brutal persecution, transgender Pakistanis gained recognition in 2009 when the Supreme Court granted them special status with rights equal to other citizens.

While discrimination still persists, the move to allow transgender police recruits would be a significant step for the community, activists say.

“We will make them part of Sindh police,” Syed Kaleem Imam, Inspector General of the Sindh police told Reuters in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province.

“They are good God-gifted people. Citizens like us. We should stand by them,” said Imam, who as a junior officer became aware of the discrimination against the community.

As in neighboring India and Bangladesh, transgender Pakistanis have faced widespread discrimination for decades. Many live in secluded communities, earning a living as dancers or forced into sex work or begging.

A 2017 census counted 10,418 transgender people in the country of 207 million, but rights group Charity Trans Action Pakistan estimates there are at least 500,000.

‘TRANS-FRIENDLY’

In a major step forward in 2009, the Supreme Court ruled that transgender people could receive national identity cards as a “third sex” and in 2017, the government issued its first passport with a transgender category.

While some transgender people have achieved celebrity as news anchors or fashion models, entry into the police force would be a major development for the community.

“Police behavior and their complaint mechanism is not trans-friendly. I will try to make police trans-friendly and educate colleagues when I join the police,” said Shahzadi Rai, a 29-year-old transgender activist who hopes to join the force.

“When we go to lodge any report at the police station, their behavior and questions hurt us. They don’t ask questions about the case, but about our gender,” Rai said.

Zehrish Khan, a program manager at Gender Interactive Alliance, a transgender rights group, said the community had always sought inclusion and was now seeing the fruits of the 2009 Supreme Court ruling.

“If we are inducted into the police, we’ll show we can work harder compared to men and women,” Khan told Reuters.

It could be months before the first transgender police officers are hired, Imam said, but they will have the same opportunities as other recruits and perform regular duties in the field.

“We will give them space, facilitate them so that they can come into the mainstream,” the police chief said.

(Reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; editing by Darren Schuettler)

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