Thursday, 25 August 2011

In Pakistan, police act to protect trans women

Source: Express Tribune

By Manzoor Ali

In Peshawar, the City police took seven persons into custody after transvestites complained of being sexually harassed and physically tortured by them, police said.
SHO Khazana Police Station Raz Mohammad Khan told The Express Tribune that they took seven persons into custody after transvestites approached the police with a written complaint detailing their ordeal, saying that they shaved the heads of five transvestites and subjected them to physical abuse.

Raz Mohammad said that the issue was settled as another application of reconciliation was submitted to the police station after the initial application.

However, he added that the accused were still in police custody.

Transvestites have traditionally been paid to help celebrate the birth of a son or to dance at weddings, but today, many end up living on the streets, begging or prostituting themselves. Additionally, in a country where sexual relations outside marriage are taboo and homosexuality is illegal, transvestites are also treated as sex objects and often become the victims of violent assault.

Earlier in the day, transvestites from around the city protested outside Peshawar Press Club (PPC) to call attention to the abuse.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Shemale Association President Farzana told the Express Tribune that such incidents have been taking place over the last few months and the same group of people is responsible for shaving the heads of transvestites and subjecting them to other forms of physical and mental abuse.

Earlier, five transvestites approached with a complaint that they were taken to a party in the Bakhshi Pul area on Charsadda Road, where a group of men shaved their heads and then began torturing them.

She identified the transvestites as Marghay, Lambay, Nazoo, Guria and Saeeda, adding that the same kind of treatment has been meted out to at least 20 transvestites during the past few months, with some of them leaving the city in fear.

Farzana claimed that the same group had previously sexually abused some transvestites and filmed the incident, which was later uploaded to the internet. She claimed that she was also being threatened for speaking out.

Another transvestite who was subjected to physical abuse some 20 days back corroborated Farzana’s story, telling The Express Tribune that a group of 15-20 men subjected them to physical abuse and that the attackers filmed part of the incident. She felt sure that the attackers were from the same group that shaved the heads of transvestites last night.
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