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

For an hour the authorities debated on whether she belonged in the women or men’s ward.

Noman Ansari May 25, 2016
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

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

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Maria ali | 4 years ago | Reply | Recommend 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.
Kamran | 4 years ago | Reply | Recommend 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 beating
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