PESHAWAR: Weeks after another person who is transgender was gunned down, members of the transgender community in Peshawar on Tuesday staged a rally demanding security.
Claiming that incidents of extortion and violence against them were increasing in the city, they first staged a protest demonstration outside the Peshawar Press Club.
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They then marched towards the provincial assembly building but ultimately gathered in front of the Gulbahar police station where they held a sit-in.
They held up placards inscribed with slogans such as those against extortion and those seeking protection from the provincial government.
Some members of the transgender community complained that the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa police was not taking their complaints seriously and have been ignoring them despite the fact that they have been facing death threats.
The protest took place after four members of the local transgender community in Gulbahar received threats from extortionists. Members of the transgender community subsequently went to the local police station to lodge a complaint.
While the police noted the complaint in their ‘Roznamcha’ (daily journal), officials did not register a formal First Information Report — the first legal step in seeking justice.
“A person living in Peshawar has been asking Rs500,000 as extortion. He has threatened to kill me if I did not pay him,” said Adnan Sunny, a member of the transgender community who was part of Tuesday’s protest.
Sunny further claimed that talks with the Gulbahar Police Station SHO had been unproductive.
Sunny added that the extortionist had also allegedly snatched her cellphone and had hijacked her Facebook account.
Chahat, another protestor, said that they have submitted their complaints to all relevant police stations including Gulbahar, Gulberg, Banamari and Chamkani, but none have taken any action so far.
“They refuse to register our FIRs… against threatening calls of extortionists, Chahat said, adding, “We have recordings of the extortion calls but the police are taking the issue lightly.”
Referring to the murder of her friend Spoogmai, she demanded that the police arrest the extortionists.
Qamar Naseem, the coordinator for Blue-Vein—a non-governmental organisation working on issues faced by women and people who are transgender — told The Express Tribune that as many as 54 people who are transgender have been killed in K-P since 2015.
However, there are 10 times as many people who are transgender — 549 — who have been left alive after being subject to violence.
“Violence against people who are transgender has become routine since every day two to three cases of violence take place,” Naseem said as he accused the government of ignoring its own policy on people who are transgender.
He also accused the police of striking a settlement with those who were extorting people who are transgender.
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Taimur Kamal, a coordinator for the Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network, said that the police know where the culprits are hiding and if the wanted to, they could arrest the extortionists within a day.
“The government in the last fiscal budget allocated Rs200 million for the uplift of people who are transgender in the province but the money was not spent while half of the current fiscal year has also passed,” Kamal said, adding that this money could be spent protecting the transgender community.
The sit-in ended after police assured that those threatening the community will be arrested.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2017.
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