Alisha was treated outside a lavatory – shame on you, Peshawar

Published: May 25, 2016
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The Janaza of Transgender Actvist Alesha will be offered at House of Mr.Qamar Naseem of Blue Veins at 50 A OPF Colony Budhni Road Doran Pur at 6: 00 Pm Sharp. This will be the first ever janaza od Transgender offered publically in Khyber Pakahtunkhwa. Even after leaving this world. Alesha is breaking another myths about the funerals of Transgender persons. PHOTO: TRANS ACTION KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA

Like any other people, all the transgender community wants is to live with dignity. But in Pakistan, dignity for this sexual minority is almost impossible to find. From birth to their death beds, they are ostracised as if they are the bearers of some invisible disease. Forced to live with their own communities, forced to take menial jobs or to beg on the streets, forced to put up with mental and physical abuse, forced to deal with sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and rape, from their fellow citizens or even those tasked with protecting them, the transgender people of Pakistan are constantly swimming against the tidal waves, and we ignore their plight, because pretending they are invisible is easy.

In a recent heartbreaking case, Alisha, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Trans Action Alliance coordinator was shot six times on a Sunday in different parts of her body. While details are still emerging, some reports suggest this was a hate crime, while others claim it was the act of a criminal gang that exploits the community to shoot pornographic videos. One can imagine that Alisha was shot because she resisted.

Let’s hope that the K-P government looks into this case and brings the gang to justice, but for a government that until recently believed in negotiating with the Taliban while minority groups burned, what chance does the transgender community have?

For any other Pakistani, getting horrifically shot six times would be bad enough, but for Alisha, the nightmare continued at the hospital. According to a report on The Express Tribune, while in critical condition at the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, she was kept waiting for an hour while the authorities debated on whether she belonged in the women or men’s ward. Finally, after protests from the patients, she was shift to the men’s, where incredibly enough, she was treated in front of the lavatory, as far away from the other patients as possible.

What did she do to be treated like this even when dying? She was born differently than the other patients, but is that a crime? Did it make her less human?

The details on the Trans Action Facebook page are even more disturbing.

It is disturbing that even the employees of a hospital cannot treat transgender people with respect. It is shocking that even when there to support a friend suffering from gunshot wounds, the transgender community suffered from sexual harassment at the hands of the hospital staff.

Eventually, Alesha died at the hospital. Trans Action Khyber Pakhtunkhwa says it is because she didn’t receive the treatment she needed on time. All she wanted to do was live her life in peace.

All photos: Screenshots

Do you think that Alisha's death was a consequence of staff negligence?

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Noman Ansari

Noman Ansari

The author is the editor-in-chief of IGN Pakistan, and has been reviewing films and writing opinion pieces for The Express Tribune as well as Dawn for five years. He tweets as @Pugnate (twitter.com/Pugnate)

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

  • Sidra

    Couldn’t expect anything more than this conservative, callous and self-indulging society. Human life’s worth is measured in terms of appearance, sexuality, religion, wealth and so on. Wish Alisha could have been treated as a plain human regardless of her sexuality. I being a health professional myself feel so disgusted by the inhumane treatment of people by health care providers. These healthcare professionals who are supposed to serve humanity indiscriminately rather work to reinforce inequity, inequality and unfair treatment of patients.They are rather a curse to humanity…Shame on you all who fail to recognize the sanctity of “human life” and fail to perform the duties that you have been entrusted with. RIP dear Alisha!Recommend

  • Maqsood

    Human dignity is more important than narrowly minded social values. Not only Peshawar but we all should be ashamed. May Alisha rest in peace and may the higher authority give us the courage to stand up and challenge the existing value system.Recommend

  • Hammad Ansari

    It appears that it is not the consequence of negligence of staff, but society’s nonacceptance of 3rd Gender. (s)he faced harassment in men ward, and patients in women ward protested too when she was brought in women ward. What is staff is supposed to do in this situation?
    It is the society that has to be blamed. Not just Peshawar, but whole countryRecommend

  • Puffin

    That is quite disparaging. Why are you insulting an entire City for the actions of a few. Shame on you! You are no less than those maniacs.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ahmad Khattak

    I fail to understand why all of Peshawar should be ashamed due to staff negligence at at a hospital. Express Tribune seriously seriously needs to look at what its printing and, no, don’t use the excuse that it is an opinion piece. Hate speech against minorities is also somebody’s opinion. Why dont you start printing that as well? Peshawar was on no one’s lips for 70 years but the moment we’re down and hurting, you hypocrites turn your dps black, so no, Noman Ansari, I refuse to be ashamed for somebody else’s actions because while what happened was absolutely shocking and deplorable, your slight political spin on this ‘opinion’ piece has taken away any moral authority you might have claimed otherwise.Recommend

  • Jarri Najam

    So Noman Ansari just couldn’t help himself from putting his political spin on it. Brought the issue of negotiations with the Taliban in too. His bias against PTI is well known. Every war has a window open for negotiations. Look through history and you’ll find several examples from the time of the Prophet to the World Wars. Yes, there is no negotiating with people who are unwilling to lay down their arms. That’s why there is a war ongoing where KP has suffered the most.

    Back to the story. You did not give the other side of the story at all but assumed everything one side said was the truth. Obviously, it’s not hard to believe there were issues but this is a societal issue where no one is comfortable around transgenders. Getting treatment in a hospital cannot be easy for them and it’s not just the hospital staff that could be a source of problem but the patients themselves. In fact, doctors working there say they never mistreat anyone including transgenders. But why would you bother talking about that.

    A sad incident which should serve as a wakeup call for society. Can’t say much for the blog post.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    Just to be clear, the blog title wasn’t mine.Recommend

  • Mahmud Majeed

    There was negligence but Elisha died of serious internal injury after irreparable bullet wound and severe shock syndrome.Recommend

  • vinsin

    And what the city has done? Do they support or oppose such treatment?Recommend

  • vinsin

    Did you protest?Recommend

  • Arman Zain

    Noman is a like teenager, who likes to mock others, with or without good reason.

    For a change, he picked up a good topic to write about but he had to mock people of Peshawar. Some habits just don’t go away!

    As per transgender community, yes they are treated poorly all across Pakistan, which is a shame. Like every human being, they deserve respect. I am not sure if transgender would have been treated any differently in any city of Pakistan but LRH, Peshawar treat every patient like this. I have personally experienced the quality of health care and humanity in LRH. Medical malpractice and negligence have no bounds in the place.Recommend

  • Hassaan Khalid

    There is no such thing as a Third gender, it’s not a real thing… people are either men or women, the third thing wouldn’t be a gender, rather it would be a physical disfigurement, disease or a disorder (mental or physical).. on the other hand understanding this fact is very important that a Human is a Human.. rejection on basis of unique condition or special need, or gender confusion is extremely offensive and unacceptable. Though this may have been negligence, it also could have been a lack of resources, or just the most basic insularity of the Peshawari People.Recommend

  • 19640909rk .
  • Sam

    This is not a hate speech, but reality check. When entire community is mistreated by society then we should be surprised when things like this happen.Recommend

  • Asad

    This is indeed a very sad incident, but how can you blame the whole city?
    You act like western media who blame Muslims and Islam for the act done by few.!Recommend

  • BazBach

    Will you feel the same if God forbids your male sexual partner, pictured with you, is treated this way in hospital?Recommend

  • Faiz Qadri

    Just focus on what happened? ???? Don’t try to be a politician by focusing on unnecessary things. ….Recommend

  • PJ

    And, since, when did hospital authorities paid any attention
    to protesting patients? These “protesters” are lucky enough
    to be seen by a doctor, let alone be admitted in a hospital.
    The staff, if they believe in the Hippocratic Oath, should have
    told the “protesters” to bear it, or pack up and leave. Go somewhere
    else. But the doctors in the Land of the Pure don’t even know what
    a Hippocratic Oath is. Basically, it’s them, and their egos, playing God.
    Or, they are worried about the extremists, religious bigots, fanatics, mullahs….
    Take your pick.Recommend

  • Laeeq Durrani

    Noman , you are as much of an opportunist as much as the guy who asked for their contact details & wanted to abuse them. Your ignorance on PESHAWAR & Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa makes me cringe. You SIR, are nothing better than just another face amongst the jeering crowd which taunts & enjoys the show when Transvestites perform in a CIRCUS in ANY CITY OF PAKISTAN. You, Sir, are out of your depth to be commenting on such a serious matter & conveniently choose the occasion of the death of a “PERSON” to ooze venom & point scores at an Entire City – Province. It shows your need for the 10 minutes of fame & in doing so, you have showed absolute disregard to the dead. Recommend

  • SHAH S

    Shame on all of us; Shame on even saying the words “ISLAMIC” Republic of Pakistan; What is there Islamic about it ??; We are by default by birth so called Muslims, we have not read, understood and obeyed Quran, we read it like a parrot without understanding a word of it and then claim we are Muslims of ISLAMIC Republic of Pakistan ??? SHAME SHAME.. Only thing we are good at is “Listening” to a damn Mullah in a mosque and “React’ sometimes peacefully, but mostly or most of the time, Violently…. without understanding or analyzing the issueRecommend

  • hehe

    Absolutely tragic. The issue in my opinion is not negligence of the staff but attitude of the society at large towards minorities in our country.
    To have an opportunity to write an article on such an important issue, the author has actually diverted from the main issue and chose a headline to defame a city and its people while making no secret of his bias towards the provincial govt in the major content of the article.
    Rape and murders happen in Sindh and Punjab quite frequently but we don’t see people blaming the people of the area on those crimes.
    High time we have enlightened and unbiased people writing blogs for tribune.Recommend

  • Dreamer

    Where is the champion of New Peshawar? Where are his claims about Lady Reading Hospital and the rest in KP?Recommend

  • tahir

    alisah was human being.he was met with a inhuman treatment..dr tried to ger ride of him through killing him. a case must be got registered against intazamia and concerned drRecommend

  • mikeorgan1955

    Have the city authorities taken any action or has anyone yet started an investigation of this incident. If not why not. In any civilized society there should have been no question of what ward was used she/he should have been treated and then put in an ICU for post operative care at which point they could then debate the ward choice. Its perfectly obvious that they didn’t want to treat this patient and were happy for him to die before they could. Shame on the Hospital shame on the staff and someone should be prosecuted for neglect.Recommend

  • mikeorgan1955

    Think on this for a second.
    If someones gender is a reason for withholding treatment then is anyone safe in these bigots hands. Your choices are not and never should be a reason for them to choose to treat you or not. Be very, very careful because you will probably be next if you allow this kind of thing to happen. What next failure to treat depending on your socioeconomic class, age, religion or or your political choice. That’s possible because it seems that it all depends on the opinion of the person treating you and that’s a real danger for every single one of you.
    Thankfully I live in a country that makes this kind of thing a crime and have no such fears but you should think very carefully about this and demand action for if you don’t then your life is in the hands of people who will arbitrarily decide on their own prejudices if your life is worth saving.
    Also these people are not healers/doctors they are scum. They promise to do no harm but these guys did just that as delaying treatment is doing harm big time.Recommend

  • Usman Masood

    This is horrifying, if same happens with any big political shot you can imagine the protocol and staff brilliant management to make necessary hygiene and space, but unfortunately Alisha was not a human.Recommend

  • Kartoos Khan

    are you feeling same for Alisha as you feel for your family person?. Why would i be ashamed of some doctors actions? Women won’t letting her/him ( the most confusing part is either use him or her for Alisha ) in their ward and same case for men. How come we can blame doctors for this and whole Peshawar? When would Punjab be ashamed of throwing acids, raping girls, raping kids and much more. Isn’t Punjab on top in all these activities? Hundreds of kids are dying due to doctors negligence in Thar how come no one is noticing it? Many kids,adults and elder are dying every day. All she/he is getting attention because he/she was transgender and getting support from NGOS. Asad Qaiser had provided him private room but it was too late.
    I have a question: All these people who are protesting now or were protesting that time specially Qamar Naseem(Blue veins Coordinator) could not manage a private room for Alisha? Couldn’t they get him/her to some private hospital? where she/he could have private vip room. No they couldn’t because it was going to charge them. All they can do is bakwas MF.Recommend

  • Kartoos Khan

    Yup there is no third gender. We all are born as a man or woman. People supporting transgenders can spend some money to fix their physical and mental related problems/disorders, i haven’t seen any NGO working for transgenders disorders either to make them totally man or a woman. They would work for transgenders to keep doing mujray and be the source of lust and enjoyment for desperate men.Recommend

  • Jamshed Baloch

    Is there any trace of humanity left in us humansRecommend

  • Jarri Najam

    Try treating a patient while every patient around you is creating a scene. They could not ask all other patients to leave. Be practical. This has nothing to do with the doctors or their egos. And how the hell do religious extremists come into this discussion? This is a societal issue. Trying to portray it as a Peshawar issue is preposterous.Recommend

  • Jarri Najam

    What does this have to do with the claims of a new Peshawar or LRH? This is a societal issue where people do no accept transgenders at the same school, office, etc. A gov that has spent 3 years in power while dealing with terrorism and other issues is expected to change people’s thinking about transgenders in that time? Do you think the outcome would have been different in a Lahore gov hospital? Easy to make this about politics thanks to the extremely biased blog post.Recommend

  • Kamran

    sorry to say but the last bed of a ward is always in front of the lavatory, bearing in mind lavatories in every ward are located at the end of the length of the ward, so it a total propaganda by giving the little. She was treated in front of the lavatory, a doctor can perform anywhere if he is capable of it. if we kept on beating the drums like this than the govt would have no other option but to take the lavatories out of the wards, if thats what you guys want than fine, go ahead, keep beatingRecommend

  • Kamran

    than why dont you do something about it, they are titling your blog about a societal injustice and converting this issue into politicsRecommend

  • Maria ali

    I think it would be fair to judge imran khan for that . This issue of transgender is a societal issue. I think pakistani people are not mature enough in accepting there status as an individual .
    It would take alot of years to change the typical mentalities of pakistanis. KP govt should take a strict action against this. There should be protection laws made for them avtually thats the only way we cab contribute.Recommend

  • PJ

    Do you think telling racist, bigoted, patients to ‘leave’
    will mean they will,all collectively, pack up and leave?
    They will go and complain to who? The PM? The
    Chief Minister? The Governor? None of them gives a
    doozy about the common man/citizen of Pureland. Unless
    it involves money …in their pockets.
    No, these protesters,they will shut their mouths. Because
    the next protest will be “we don’t want Christians OR Hindus OR Sikhs OR Shias or Hazaras in our wards. Only Khawariji Sunnis”
    Are you able to follow this stream of thought? Doubt it very
    very much.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ahmad Khattak

    Ironically, very very ironically Mr. Qadri, that’s exactly what I was asking the author to do. To not make this a political issue but to focus on the event it self.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ahmad Khattak

    Oh this article completely clears it up for me. It says that as soon as word got out, the ENTIRE city of Peshawar made its way to the hospital and poked fun at transgenders.

    Please don’t insult my intelligence.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ahmad Khattak

    I didn’t say it was hate speech. I said hate speech is also an opinion. Opinions, much like the enthusiasm of many of the people who have commented on this, need to be tempered. Charlie Hebdo is also airing opinions, we sure have our panties in a bunch over that one, don’t we? Also, the transgender community is not the only one being mistreated by society. I would like to see you raise your voice for the Ahmadi community, for the Shias, for the Christians, for the Hindus, for the Sikhs, for every community that we deem as different from ourselves. Learn to read, understand and absorb what somebody has written before jumping into the fray with your two cents.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ahmad Khattak

    Do you not know the ground realities of this country? Are you blind to the fact that people are treated differently, have been treated differently and will continue to be treated differently according to their social status? There is too much wrong with our society to even highlight in a single post. You can try and be funny all you want, but you have very clearly missed the point I was trying to make.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ahmad Khattak

    Why aren’t you moving heaven and earth to have that corrected? It’s going out under your name and is therefore representative of your views.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ahmad Khattak

    Nope, and not going to. All Pakistanis do is protest. If I started protesting everything that I felt was wrong with this country, all I would be doing is protesting. I have a job and a life, and enough on my plate than having to deal with the issues of the Trans community. I treat them as my equals whenever I come across them. That’s all I can do by my lonesome. I hope you can say the same.Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    Guess you never red the whole article. It states how transgenders are exploited in Pakistan by mafia as well as educated doctors . Instead of treating the injured person,doctors were busy getting the numbers and seeking sexual favours from her friends to treat her.Recommend