The Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA) organised a demonstration in front of the Lahore Press Club on Saturday to protest against police and a TV host for allegedly violating human rights and discriminating against transgender people.
GIA president Bindya Rana said the TV host had violated laws protecting privacy. She said the TV host had not sought permission to enter private property, and had not obtained consent of the transgenders she interviewed to show their faces on television. Rana said she had unfairly blamed them for the spread of HIV in Pakistan. She demanded that the chief justice of Pakistan take suo motu notice of the matter.
GIA general secretary Rana Asif Habib said the show was an infringement of Article 10A of the Constitution. Habib said that entering private property without the resident’s permission was a violation of Article 14. He asked the chief justice of Pakistan and the federal mohtasib to take immediate action and guide the GIA in seeking a legal remedy.
Nazir Ghazi, executive director of GODH, a grassroots organisation for human development, said the civil society supported the trans-gender community in their campaign for rights. He said there was an urgent need to sensitise the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority regarding human rights issues. He said its code of conduct should be revised in keeping with the international human rights conventions.
Iftikhar Mubarik, a child rights activist, said it was time to end discrimination against transsexuals in all skill development programmes in the Punjab. He said there should be policies for social inclusion, and measures to ensure the transgender community’s meaningful participation in public events and society.
GIA vice president Anju said the TV show had triggered police raids on trans-gender people’s houses. She said harassment and exploitation were routine in these raids. Anju said she was determined to approach all forums necessary to stop discrimination against the community. She said police and media houses must impart human rights education to their staff.
As many as 150 people representing the civil society showed their solidarity with the struggle of transgender persons at the demonstration.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2014.