The Untouchables

The Untouchables

I woke up the other day and looked in the newspaper to search for updates on the incident that had taken place a few days earlier with a transgender named Alisha (late), but unfortunately I couldn’t find much detail in the leading newspapers or news channels. And wherever it was, it was negligible in its length and size. Reportedly, a transgender was shot 8 times, ridiculed, harassed and abused by the hospital staff and visitors, and was left to die because of the apathy and neglect of the people who were supposed to look after a wounded citizen and member of the community. Well, when the first time I saw a post on social media about this incident I was not very hopeful. Obviously one who was shot 8 times could barely survive unless there was some miracle. In Alisha’s case miracles weren’t supposed to happen. Anyhow, I was glad to learn that the acting Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tried to do something for Alisha but I believe that it was too little too late.

I mourned Alisha’s death but I felt worse over the society’s attitude towards people like her. They are often regarded as commodities and we keep them at arm’s length, not allowing them to reside where we live, study where we study, shop from where we shop, or eat where we go to dine. Alisha’s death has made me realize that it was not only difficult to give space to transgenders in our lives, but also to give them space in our hospitals. They are the untouchables for us.

Have we ever realized why they do what they do on the roads, like begging or trying to entertain, etc? Let me tell you, it is because of our inhumane treatment and attitude that forces them to do such petty jobs. We are the reason behind their suffering. We have issued them identity cards but in reality their identity remains a question mark in our lives. They are living beings too, they also have a heart and a functioning mind exactly like ours, they have a different outlook and should not been discriminated against.

The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) identification cannot make a difference in their lives unless we change our attitude towards them, we need to break our silence and speak for their rights. Law enforcement bodies should take serious measures against the culprits. The story does not end with Alisha’s death rather it raises more questions on the security in place and the integrity of the transgender community in Pakistan.


[Soon after Alisha’s death, another incident took place, where 3 armed men fired gunshots at another transgender, Kashi, for refusing to engage in sexual activity, in Mansehra].

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of or any other organization with which she might be associated.

Sadia Huda

Author: Sadia Huda

The writer is a PhD scholar and is part of the visiting faculty at Quaid e Azam University, Islamabad.


I appreciate your effort but I couldnt see a different angle in your writing. You could add LGBT rights and the ongoing work regarding those in Pakistan.

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