Ansari’s Answer, As Malik’s ‘Malique’?

She wanted to become a journalist or an advocate. And she has caused a great sensation by choosing the first one. Marvia Malik has become Pakistan’s first transgender TV newsreader.
Kohenoor, a Lahore-based private broadcaster, has hired the journalism graduate, who also works as a model. Malik was moved to tears when she received the appointment letter. This is the first such incident in an Islamic nation, like Pakistan.
Malik, currently studying a Master’s Degree, said that she got many opportunities to become a model. However, she wanted to do something for herself and for the society. “Transgender people face discrimination in Pakistan and many struggle to find employment. Some are forced into begging, dancing or prostitution to earn money,” she stressed.
Talking to the British media, Malik said: “The dream that I saw for myself, I was able to climb on the first stair to achieving it.” She expressed hope that her work would help improve the lives of transgender community in her country.
Meanwhile, the young journalist has strongly criticised the government of Pakistan for its failure in ensuring equal rights for all. Malik informed the press that she would work hard for the development of transgender community, saying that they should be treated equally. “There must not be any gender discrimination. We should be given equal rights and be considered ordinary citizens, instead of third-gender,” she added.
The 21-year-old Malik recalled that it had become very difficult for her to build a career as she did not receive support from her family members. “I was thrown out after (10th grade) after which I joined a beauty salon, earned just about enough to put myself through college, but it was not easy. My story is no different from that of a hijra (intersex or transgender people) on the street you see begging,” she insisted. According to Malik, this is mostly the scene not just in Pakistan, but also in other South Asian nations, including neighbouring India and Bangladesh. She underscored that she has faced abuse of all kinds, but claimed that such things have made her ‘stronger’ and she managed to overcome the hurdles.

Marvia Malik

The training, which she received before joining the television channel, has changed her life. The appointment letter has boosted her confidence. “I got a lot of appreciation from those associated with the fashion industry when I did catwalk modelling two weeks back, and now this … it’s quite overwhelming,” she told the press.
The top management of Kohenoor TV hinted a change by offering the job to Malik. CEO of the channel Junaid Mahmood Ansari has admitted that he had no plan to take such a step. However, he changed his mind only after receiving the job application from Malik. “I did not see a reason why a deserving person – like Malik – should not be appointed if she had fulfilled the criteria,” stressed the CEO.
People, across South Asia, have welcomed Ansari’s decision to respect a person, irrespective of her sexual orientation.

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