Transgender activist critically injured after being shot multiple times in Pakistan

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Trans Action Alliance coordinator has been critically injured after she was shot six times on Sunday night.

Alesha was shifted to Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar in critical condition. However, LRH authorities kept her waiting for over an hour as they couldn’t decide whether to shift her in the male or female ward.

Despite several requests to move her to the female ward, the injured was shifted to the male ward, triggering a protest from the transgender community and her relatives, a post on the association’s Facebook page read.

“We are running since 9:30 am till now (1:30 PM) to find a bed for Alesha. We were asked to go to a male ward and from the male ward to the female ward. Upstairs, downstairs but this transpacific Hospital (LRH) has not place where a transgender in a critical condition can be treated no place in ICU no place in ward,” the post added.

“We had to pull the curtain after a long negotiation,” said Qamar Naseem, the coordinator of the Blue Veins programme. “We put Alesha on a bed in front of the lavatory,” he explained, adding that those were the only terms acceptable to the people in the ward.

A spokesperson for the LRH MTI who was present at the ward said the situation had been resolved. “The hospital was only acting as per the complaints of those admitted,” he said. Further, the spokesperson said the delay in shifting Alesha to a ward was because they were trying to arrange a private room after problems raised in the general ward.

The association claims an organised criminal gang that extorts money from the transgender community is behind the attack on Alesha. The alliance also claimed that transgender persons are being forced by the gang into making porn videos.

The police registered an FIR against the culprits in the Faqirabad police station and further investigations are underway.

Qamar Naseem, the coordinator of the Blue Veins programme, said that 45 transgender people were targeted in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa since January 2016 alone. He said that while sexual violence against the community was completely overlooked despite repeated attempts at seeking help from the local police, little had been done in terms of security.

Naseem said he had written to the Inspector General of Peshawar Police, identifying organised gangs that were involved in extorting money from the transgendercommunity but no action was taken despite pressure from the international community.

There has been an increase in incidents of violence against transgender people in K-P, where they have been beaten and their heads have been shaved. In more extreme cases, they have been targeted and killed.