KARACHI : A case pertaining to the murder of a transgender woman in Dupatta Gali at Tariq Road was filed against unidentified assailants on Sunday. Shabbir alias Shabana alias Annie Khan, a 35-year-old transgender woman was stabbed to death in a residential building with a knife.
Police initiated further investigation after recovering the murder weapon. An FIR has been registered at Ferozabad Police Station under Section 34 read with Section 302 [the former applies to acts done by several persons in furtherance of a common intention while the latter pertains to punishment of qatl-i-amd or homicidal murder] on behalf of the victim’s cousin, Allah Jevaya.
According to Ferozabad police, Shabana lived alone in her apartment. The deceased was stabbed in the head, face, arms and other parts of her body with a knife. The unidentified assailants left Shabana locked inside a room in an injured condition, causing her to bleed to death, said the police.
The fingerprints found on the murder weapon have been sent to the forensic division.
The police informed that the hair of the deceased was chopped off in the scuffle that presumably occurred before the murder. Officials believe that the act of forcibly cutting off hair is done to demean, insult and punish the victim.
Ferozabad SHO Sarwar Commando said that Shabana was likely killed by an acquaintance. Further investigation is under way.
“There is no information till now of the exact reasons behind Shabana’s murder. We suspect no personal enmity at this point,” said Shehzadi Rai, a transgender activist at PECHRA – a transgender rights group, while speaking to The Express Tribune. “All we know is that Shabana was murdered at her flat after being stabbed multiple times in the head. We were able to inform her family on time to file an FIR and they registered the complaint against her murder,” she added.
The deceased was handed over to the family after the post-mortem and other medico-legal formalities. The family took the body to their ancestral land in Bahawalpur for the burial.
Call for systemic change
Gender Interactive Alliance Founder and President, Bindiya Rana, a leading activist of the transgender community in Pakistan, expressed concern over the increasing number of incidents of violence and harassment against transgenders in Karachi.
“We are very disturbed over the rise of such incidents because our lives are at stake,” said Rana. “We see that no security is being provided to the transgender community. Instead the Sindh government is simultaneously depriving us of our livelihood with the recent anti-beggary laws,” she added.
Rana, who also contested the 2013 elections from Karachi for a seat in the provincial assembly, also called for laws to be changed with regards to registering an FIR in cases of violence against members of the transgender community. She insisted that the Guru [Senior] or Chela [apprentice] within the transgender community should be allowed to file an FIR on behalf of the murdered community member.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Rana explained that this was necessary as in most cases transgender persons are disowned by their families.
“Often we see that the family members of the murdered transgender person do not even wish to receive their bodies,” said Rana. She added that they were able to register an FIR against Shabana’s murder but that is not always possible. “In Shabana’s case, her family came to the police station when informed and helped with the formalities.”
“We wish to move forward with further action against the murderers of Shabana in the coming days, with the consent of her family.” she added.