The Legal Status of Transgenders in Pakistan

The Legal Status of Transgenders in Pakistan

As per the 6th Population and Housing Consensus released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) in August 2017, the country’s transgender population stands at 10,418 people – 0.005% of the total population of Pakistan. While this statistic was vehemently denied by activists, who claimed that according to an estimate there are more than one million transgender people in Pakistan, with 5,000 to 10,000 living in just the twin cities alone. Known more commonly as “Khusras”, “Khwaja Sira”, or “Hijra”; transgenders are either revered or feared in Pakistan. Suspicion reigns within Pakistani society and Transgenders are equally feared or revered, depending on which side of the Suspicion-Spectrum the person lies. They are feared because no one wants to be at the receiving end of their curse, should they be involuntarily offended. Due to the social ostracization, the Transgenders in Pakistan have formed their own community. They face various issues such as abandonment by close friends and family, lack of proper work, lack of medical and health facilities and lack of education, among other things. As a result of which they either beg for food, or work as sex workers to make ends meet. Transgenders are subject to violence and in most cases, they go unreported. Harassment (be it sexual or otherwise) is a large part of their daily lives, be it at the hands on common people, medico-legal officers or even security personnel. According to a 2017 report published by Aawaz, Trans-Action Alliance/Blue Veins 46 killings of transgenders and 300 violent attacks on transgenders have taken place across the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the space of one year, from January 2015 to...
HONOR MISPLACED

HONOR MISPLACED

According to the Pakistan Human Right’s Commission, more than 1000 girls and women are killed each year in the name of honor.  In 2013, the Aurat Foundation registered a total of 5,815 cases of violence against women in Punjab alone. Unfortunately, a majority of the cases are not reported due to numerous reasons, from insensitive police officers to social stigma and family honor. Honor is a very multi-dimensional term, mostly used in Pakistani society as a tool to control the behaviors of individual members of a family. Regardless of social status, educational background, or other demographics, honor is the basic foundation for most of the crimes against women and girls which take place in the country. Known as Karo Kari, Saiyah, and Ghairat Gari, among others, this is a phenomenon that has Pakistani society by its very roots. The term is linked directly to the reputation of the family in society. Honor, in Pakistan, resides within the body of the female members of a family. Honor can be lost because of a mere suspicion, a neighbor’s taunt or even a whispered rumor from a spiteful individual with no connection to the family whatsoever. If a female member of the family is talked about, or “loses her honor”, then the entire family is considered disgraced before society; and in order to regain its prior respectability, the entire family must ensure the culprit is punished. Such archaic traditions take place with alarming ease in all provinces of the country. The term “Honor Killing” is known as Karo Kari in Sindh, Siyah Kari in Balochistan, Kala Kali in Punjab and Taurtoora in...