Transgender Tax Enforcers

Forget straight-laced tax agents trying to intimidate you into paying taxes. That just won't work with hardened tax evaders of Pakistan, so they've come up with an alternative method: send in the transgender enforcers!

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

The householder 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 local head of tax collection, calls ''the nuclear option'' - clapping, shouting and generally 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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