Trans woman kidnapped, raped and tortured ‘for information on climate march’ in Pakistan

The People's Climate March in Karachi, Pakistan

A trans woman who co-organised a climate march in Pakistan was abducted, raped and tortured “for information” on the demonstration, it’s been reported.

The victim was on her way home from an organising meeting on Saturday (11 December), the day before the march, when she was reportedly abducted by men in a black car.

Members of Karachi Bachao Tehreek, which had been planning the People’s Climate March, and the trans rights organisation Gender Interactive Alliance Pakistan believe the assailants were police officers, though no evidence of this has been brought forward.

Karachi Bachao Tehreek said on Twitter that the victim “was tortured and raped for information regarding the march’s programme and its speeches”.

The march was organised for Karachi, in the Pakistani province of Sindh, to fight back against the demolition of settlements and markets in the area, displacing people and destroying the environment to make way for development.

The group continued: “Our march centered the demands of working class people in Karachi who have been impacted by eco-fascist and extractive ‘development’ projects.

“Participants at the march included many other groups, such as indigenous communities, people who have been dispossessed of their homes due to ‘green’ planning agendas, among many other victims of climate injustice in Karachi.

“It is worth noting that this police violence was disproportionately directed towards a trans woman – that sexual violence was weaponised against one of the most vulnerable members of the organising team, so that information about the march and its program could be extorted from her.”

Karachi Bachao Tehreek said the horrific incident demonstrated “the intersections between climate injustice, police brutality and gendered violence”.

Shehzadi Rai, the violence case manager for Gender Interactive Alliance Pakistan, told The Express Tribune that the woman’s attackers had also threatened violence against the wider trans community if she did not stop her political activism for trans rights.

Rai added that she was certain police were involved in the attack, because “who else can it be given the history of police involvement in violence against transgender people”.

A spokesperson for the chief minister of Sindh told the publication that the police inspector general was planning a meeting with members of the trans community, and added: “The culprits involved in the incident will be arrested if transgender people come forward to lodge the case and cooperate with the police in the investigation.”

The government of Pakistan’s ministry of human rights tweeted: “Our transgender rights expert, Reem, has been in touch with the relevant people including the victim’s guardian and our ministry will be contacting Sindh government to ensure her protection.”