PESHAWAR: At least 90 cases of violence, assault and intimidation against transgender persons were reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during 2016, says a non-governmental organisation. According to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network working for the welfare of transgender persons, 21 of these cases were reported in Peshawar.
Members of the third sex community came under attack from the police, political parties and religious and militant groups. The police were involved in 14 incidents.
The KPCSN said in an act of violence, which took place in Gulbahar area of the provincial capital on Feb 24, 2016, around 30 people led by a local leader of the Jamaat-i-Islami, which is part of the ruling coalition in KP, attacked the house of transgender person Arzu. It said the police refused to register the case despite being showed a video footage of the incident.
The NGO also said on May 23, members of a local criminal gang shot injured TransAction Alliance’s board member and Peshawar coordinator Alisha in the limits of the Fakirabad police station.
It said Alisha, who sustained at least eight bullet injuries, was denied immediate treatment at the Lady Reading Hospital and thus, leading to her death a day later.
KPCSN coordinator Taimur Kamal said the organisation began working on the data of violence against transgender persons earlier in 2015 but the data collection formally began towards the middle of the year.
“For the first time, we have data for a complete year. It will help improve awareness of the rights of transgender persons,” he said.
Mr. Kamal said almost all victims of subjugation awaited justice.
“Unfortunately, not a single perpetrator of violence against transgender persons has been convicted so far,” he said.
The KPCSN coordinator said the police usually didn’t take such cases seriously and even they weren’t bothered about the directions of their top provincial boss in this respect.
“Most FIRs are so weak that it is very difficult to take the culprits to the task,” he said.
Mr. Kamal said the KP government was currently working on a policy to protect transgender persons.
He said the government should ensure the early approval of that policy by the provincial assembly to address the issues and challenges facing transgender community.
The KPCSN coordinator said the KP government had promised the establishment of a shelter home for transgender persons and that a vocational centre for the community should also be built in 2017.
He said the provincial government had allocated money for the purpose in the current fiscal and that money should be properly used.
When contacted, provincial coordinator with the National Council for Human Rights Rizwanullah Shah said improved reporting had brought the real situation of transgender persons to the fore.
He said previously, most of such cases went unheard and unreported as transgender persons were treated as untouchables in rural areas. The NCHR official said despite problems from own force, the provincial police chief was ensuring action in cases of violence against transgender persons and that the KP government was working on a transgender persons’ protection policy.
“All this suggests things are improving. Transgender persons are coming forward to report incidents of violence against them. Even if they do not go to the police against excesses, they take to the streets to draw the people’s attention to their plight. Such moves by them are a good sign” he said.