A transgender Pakistani at a candle lighting ceremony in memory of trans victims on the eve of International Transgender Day of Remembrance in Lahore. (Rana Sajid Hussain/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty)
Five men have been arrested in Pakistan after a transgender person was allegedly tortured and raped at gunpoint on the night of September 20.
The alleged attack occurred in the north eastern district of Sahiwal.
According to local news outlet Dawn, a district police officer had to order a first information report because the Harappa police were reluctant to listen to the victim.
Having done so, another trans person named Binyamin claimed that the police were still reluctant to arrest the men, even though a medical certificate confirmed the rape.
The victim, identified only as ‘S’, was the leader of a group of four transgender people who were booked for a show at a village festival.
After the show the group was travelling to the nearby town of Jhang in a car. At approximately 2am they were intercepted by five armed men, who pulled ‘S’ out of the car and took her to a nearby farmhouse.
The trans woman alleged that she was tortured and raped by two men while three armed men stood guard. They kept her detained for three hours before dropping her off at Sahiwal city 20 kilometres away.
Binyamin said that instead of making arrests, Harappa police were threatening them to withdraw the rape case. He said that they were also threatened by the alleged assailants, who promised “dire consequences” if they did not drop the case.
A station officer told Dawn that the case had not been registered because the trans woman had approached them late. But after battling with the local police, a rape case was finally registered late on Saturday, October 19.
Sources said a transgender delegation from Kamalia was advocating for the woman’s case and was holding talks with the district police officials.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, passed by parliament in Pakistan in May 2018, allows people to self-identify as male, female or non-binary and to have that identity recorded on official documents, including passports and ID cards.
Despite this, transgender Pakistanis are frequently targeted by horrific abuse and violence.