March 20th, 2022
By Arshad Mohmand
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has seen a series of attacks on transgender persons across cities in the past week, leading to the killing of two members of the transgender community and injuries to six others.
According to police, a transgender person was shot dead by his alleged former companion in Peshawar on March 18. Two days before this killing, a transgender person was killed and another fellow community member wounded during a shootout at an outhouse in Mardan on March 16.
In another horrendous attack on the transgender community, four transgender persons and a guest visiting them were wounded when a man shot at them in their house in Mansehra on March 13. Those wounded in the shooting were shifted to the Ayub Medical Hospital in Abbottabad.
One of the shooting victims, Kaif, is said to be in a critical situation in the hospital. “Kaif is a resident of Lahore and came to Mansehra to meet his friends a day before the firing happened,” Bilal, his brother, told Voicepk.net. A man had opened fire on five people sitting in a room of the house, Bilal said. He said Kaif was not a transgender person but came to visit his transgender friends there.
“The assailant first fired two shots at a transgender person with whom he had a grudge and later opened fire on others who happened to be there,” Bilal said. He said the accused was not known to Kaif and others wounded in the shooting.
Police began investigations after registering first information reports over the shootings in Mardan, Abbottabad, and Peshawar. Police have arrested a man accused of the firing in Mansehra.
According to transgender activists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 90 transgender persons have been killed while 150 others have been subjected to various forms of physical violence in the province since 2015. Most of the assaults are committed by friends and relatives of the transgender victims.
“There are various reasons behind murders of transgender persons but in most cases the accused are the male companions or boyfriends of the transgender victims,” Qamar Naseem, programme coordinator of Blue Veins, told Voicepk.net.
Out of the 90 transgender killed, 60 were murdered by their friends and companions. “In the Mansehra shooting, the accused turned out to be a former friend of one of the victims who opened fire after his relations turned soar,” Naseem explained.
Naseem said the accused are arrested but walked free because of the sloppy police investigation. “According to our information, none of the accused were convicted and sentenced in all of the 90 murder cases of transgender persons in the province,” he revealed.
“Legal lacunas and hesitance of the transgender community is supporting police investigations are some of the factors that lead to killers not being convicted in courts,” Naseem said.
The provincial government is taking several measures for the protection of the transgender community. The government has also initiated legislation to ensure the provision of security and protection to transgender persons in the province.