Fear of a cake: For Haripur police, birthday party adds to national security threat

Claim complaint filed by Paro, who is transgender, attempts to sabotage action against militants

Umer Farooq March 21, 2016
Claim complaint filed by Paro, who is transgender, attempts to sabotage action against militants. PHOTO: EXPRESS


Amid bomb blasts, gun attacks and rising death tolls in the province, Haripur police feel they are under a lot of pressure – from people who want to throw birthday parties. So much so they have termed a complaint lodged against the police by a person who is transgender (and whose birthday celebration was disallowed) an attempt to sabotage police action against militants under the banner of the National Action Plan.

Following a complaint registered by Taj Muhammad who is also known as Paro, Haripur police wrote to the Human Rights Directorate (HRD), the office of which is based in the provincial capital. In the exact, unedited words of the Haripur police, “The complaint is devoid of legal force aiming to pressurise police from taking legal action against miscreants so that peaceful atmosphere brought in consequence of National Action Plan (NAP) may face the failure.”

Chain of events

Paro filed an application before the HRD on December 18, 2015. She said she had scheduled her birthday party at Niaz Hotel for December 15, 2015 where her friends from across the province were invited. The letter was addressed to the HRD by Paro, a copy of which is with The Express Tribune.

It stated, “Police raided the hotel where the celebration was to take place and asked us to stop because, according to them, they had orders from the Chief Minister House to halt birthday [celebrations] of people who are transgender until a proper no-objection certificate was obtained.”

According to Paro, an application for the NoC was also submitted to the deputy commissioner after the first party was cancelled to hold the event on January 6. This, according to the documents available, was forwarded to the DPO for necessary action. This was not approved. The December 18 letter to the HRD stated despite having been asked, police refused to share the orders issued from the CM House in written form.

Paro had said, “I strongly believe as a Pakistani national this is a denial of my cultural and social rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan.”

Following the complaint, a notice was served to Haripur police on December 21, 2015. When the police failed to submit a reply, a second notice was served on February 2 asking the Haripur DPO Khurram Shahzad to appear in person. A letter was also addressed to Hazara regional police officer on February 11.

The threat of a birthday bash

After receiving the second notice, Haripur DPO Khurram Shehzad submitted a reply citing various reasons why Paro’s birthday could pose a danger to the district. The district which he said faced many threats, including a “militant attack on army commando unit which claimed the lives of 19 army commandos in 2007”. Police cited “security concerns” as the prime reason for refusing permission for the birthday party. The Haripur police said the complainant wanted to pressurise them, so they would not be able to take action against miscreants. This they said would destroy “the peaceful environment” which was a result of the NAP.

“There has been a wave of terrorism in the country since 2001 which has devastated social, economic and political development of Pakistan,” the written reply of the Haripur DPO read – a copy of which is also available with The Express Tribune.

According to the DPO, terrorism claimed thousands of lives and many laws including the K-P Rented Building Act 2014 were in place to deal with it. The reply stated Niaz Hotel did not follow security measures required under the Sensitive and Vulnerable Establishment Act 2014, adding police found the hotel management guilty and a case was registered against the owner. Shahzad told The Express Tribune, “There was vulgarity involved at the party which we cannot allow.” However, this was not mentioned in the reply submitted to the directorate and no case was registered.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2016.


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