Protests in Pakistan after father arrested for murder of transgender daughter

The transgender community in Pakistan are leading protests after a 19-year-old transgender woman was found “riddled with bullets” beside a river bank. The teenager’s father has been arrested for her murder.

The woman, Maya, had left her home in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and was living with a group of transgender people called the Meena Group in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

When her father and uncle attempted to bring her home on Saturday (July 29), she went to a local police station saying that she feared for her life. But police allowed her family to take her after her father gave them written assurance that he would not harm his child.

Maya’s bullet-ridden body was discovered just hours later beside a river bank in Nowshera.

Local police suspect her father, who was reportedly “unhappy” with her choice to live as a transgender woman.

According to Pakistan’s News International, he said he tried his best to stop his son from being a part of the group as it had brought a bad name to his family.

Her father has been arrested, but police are still searching for her uncle and brothers, reported Pakistani news outlet Samaa TV

Transphobic violence in Pakistan is common despite legal protections

Peshawar’s transgender community staged protests in the city in the wake of the incident—the third time in less than a year that the Peshwari transgender community have protested over the murder of a trans person.

Last year, politicians passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, which gives Pakistan’s transgender population basic rights and prohibits discrimination and harassment.

It also allows transgender people to self-identify as male, female or a “third sex” on official documents, such as passports or driver’s licenses.

But the transgender community remains marginalised and violence is common, particularly from the victim’s own families in ‘honour killings.’

A recent report by Trans Action Alliance revealed that from 2015 to date, at least 63 transgender persons have been killed in Kyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

On June 3 a transgender woman there was beaten and shaved, and on June 18 two transgender women were seriously injured in a shooting.