Gang raped in Swabi for being a transgender person

Published: April 7, 2015
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From K-P to Karachi, the transgender community demands money for the only job they are allowed to do, music and dance, and even then they are often exploited. PHOTO: AFP

The transgender community of a country like Pakistan – a place ranked as one of the most dangerous countries in the world according to a report by the Minority Rights Group International (MRG) – live very miserable lives because crimes such as harassment, torture, violence, bullying and other hate crimes become everyday ordeals for them.

Just yesterday, in a heart rending incident, a transgender was gang-raped while two people were shot dead in Swabi, a district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). They were a group of transgenders going home after performing a music and dance show at a wedding. On their way home, some armed men stopped them and tried to abduct them. As the group refused, the men opened fire which resulted in the death of one transgender and the drummer of their group. The men then kidnapped one of the transgenders and gang-raped him.

While the incident was reported by the media, isn’t it ironic that none of the NGOs, who claim to be supporters of human rights and more, raised a voice to condemn this heinous crime against a community known as the ‘third gender’ in Pakistan. Perhaps it’s because these organisations do not consider marginalised communities as human beings.

This is not the first time a transgender person has been raped and it certainly will not be the last. Transgender persons in Pakistan will continue to suffer at the hands of their countrymen. Traditionally, known for their music and dance skills performed at wedding ceremonies, parties and other functions. At parties, many transgender people are sexually assaulted by drunken men and upon resistance, they are threatened and tortured. From K-P to Karachi, the transgender community demands money for the only job they are allowed to do, music and dance, and even then they are often exploited.

Apart from being victims of lusty men, the third gender community in Pakistan are also victimised by police officials – officials who are meant to protect you from harm, people you go to for help, the guardians of our lives. The police are even reluctant to register their First Information Reports (FIRs). However, in yesterday’s incident, the police managed to track down and arrest the culprits involved in the kidnapping and murder. This just goes to show that the police are capable of helping the transgender community when they want to. Question being, why don’t they stand up for the transgender community on regular basis?

In a country that gave this community a right to their identity just a couple of years ago, there is no one to hear them out. Their tears go unnoticed, their pleas for justice fall on deaf ears and their misery is forever ignored. They have been treated as nothing more than a ‘laughing stock’ for our society, a source of amusement and oddity. A mere object, not human.

Deprived of rights guaranteed to every citizen by the Constitution of Pakistan, the transgender community continues to face oppression and neglect. If the society and the government will not give them their due place, perhaps the responsibility lies on the media to give them the voice they deserve. Bring attention to their issues, highlight the hate crimes against them, broadcast their protests, start awareness campaigns, change the attitude of the society — the media can become their only hope to salvation. But will it?

Mahwish Qayyum

Mahwish Qayyum

The author is a full-time journalist based in Peshawar, Pakistan. She is associated with Express News as a reporter. She also contributes to The Express Tribune and The Oslo Times. She tweet @mahwishqayyum (twitter.com/MahwishQayyum)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • syed & syed

    Pakistan is on top of sex maniacs list. They are found in every rank and file. They do not spare a child of less then 4 years even animals. ALL MIGHTY GOD will give them the punishment which was given to Qoum-e-Loot.Recommend

  • Ammar

    before pakistan , india will ????Recommend

  • Gurion

    Before India, Papua New Guinea will ?????Recommend

  • Hakoomat-e-Pakistan

    Starting from the Title of this story, the facts are distorted either knowingly or unknowingly.

    1- The rape is not due to being Transgender Person. Does the culprit admit that they did so just because the persons are Transgender or they did it out of lust.

    2- Police did what it had to do. i.e. its duty.
    3- Constitution of Pakistan provide unconditional and unbiased rights to every HUMAN being in its territory.
    5- Supreme court of Pakistan specifically endorsed the rights of Transgenders in recent years.

    6- Pakistan is one of the few countries to even allocate quota jobs for these persons.
    7-NO other country in the world or no other supreme court has yet passed order specifically addressing the problems of Transgenders.
    NOW
    Please Stop doing propaganda and maligning this country by distorting the facts.
    Thank you so much.Recommend

  • Madi

    Are you serious? The first point is so MESSED up. Lust has nothing to do with this problem. The fact that he raped another human being is enough intent to prove the inhumanity against transgendersRecommend

  • alisned

    Have you contacted any NGOs for comment?Recommend

  • Hakoomat-e-Pakistan

    exactly this is what I am saying, That, they raped another HUMAN BEING, but the writer (with some intent) is making a mess out of it by specifying it to a Transgenders issue. Hope it clarifies.Recommend

  • osman

    its nt abt being gay/straight/bi or transgendethr this is a violation of human rights issue nothing more the author crafted it into something else more of a gender/sexual orientatiasonal based issue, Mahwish stop twisting facts and aggravating and playing with peoples sentiments and the way they perceive such pertinent issuesRecommend