Pakistan’s first trans TV news anchor Marvia Malik survives terrifying assassination attempt

A picture of Marvia Malik at her newsdesk.

Pakistan’s first trans news anchor narrowly escaped armed gunmen who attempted to assassinate her.

Marvia Malik survived an assassination attempt by two gunmen after they opened fire on her during the early hours of Friday (24 February).

Malik became the country’s first-ever TV news anchor in 2018 after appearing on a broadcast of Kohenoor News.

Her presence on television has caused controversy among members of the public in Pakistan – where homosexuality remains illegal.

She had reportedly received several threatening phone calls prior to the attack due to her position as an activist for LGBTQ+ rights.

After returning home from a nearby pharmacy, she narrowly avoided the gunfire from the two assailants, who have yet to be found.

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Following the attack, Malik told police that her activism was a “major factor” behind the assassination attempt.

She has since moved away from Lahore for her own safety.

Prior to appearing on Kohenoor TV, Malik gained attention after becoming the first trans model at a fashion show.

Upon making the transition to news reporting, Malik told Reuters that she received a surprising amount of support from viewers.

“I got a lot of appreciation from those associated with the fashion industry when I did catwalk modelling,” she said at the time.

“Now this… It’s quite overwhelming.

“I was thrown out after [10th grade] after which I joined a beauty salon, earned just about enough to put myself through college, but it was not easy.

She said that her story is representative of the importance of trans people, adding that if she can make it in fashion or media, then the community is “important in other fields too.”

LGBTQ+ rights in Pakistan are still severely outdated, with homosexuality being outlawed and conversion therapy is commonly practised.

Despite this, transgender and non-binary identities are legal, and self-ID has been available since 2018.