Pakistani trans activists under attack: kidnapped, raped, shot

Sonia, a trans rights activist, was shot on Jan. 17 in Peshawar, Pakistan. (Photo courtesy of Front Line Defenders)Sonia, a trans rights activist, was shot on Jan. 17 in Peshawar, Pakistan. (Photo courtesy of Front Line Defenders)Two members of Pakistani human rights organisation TransAction were brutally attacked in Peshawar.

On 22 January 2018, trans rights activist Shama was gang raped by nine men and on 17 January 2018, trans rights activist Sonia was shot and injured in Peshawar. They were both brutally attacked for their human rights work.Sonia and Shama are members of TransAction Pakistan, an organisation that represents thousands of transgender and intersex community members from twenty-five districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA).

The organisation strives to support transgender and intersex individuals through providing safe spaces for them. Sonia is an active transgender rights activist who regularly participates in seminars, demonstrations and walks for the rights of transgender persons.

Shama is also involved in advocacy for transgender rights.On 22 January 2018, Shama, 18, was kidnapped then gang raped in the Gulbahar neighborhood of Peshawar by nine men in retaliation against her advocacy for the human rights of the transgender community. The assailants threatened to shoot her if she disclosed the incident to anyone or if she participated in any more demonstrations.

Shama filed a complaint with the police but so far a First Incident Report (FIR) has not been lodged, no arrests have been made and no medical examination has been conducted for Shama.On 17 January 2018, Sonia was shot in the Pahandu area of Peshawar by her partner, who is also a member of the gang that attacked Arzu Khan and Taimur Kamal, and kidnapped Sunny.

She was under pressure from her partner to stop her transgender rights activism but she refused. Her partner strongly disapproved of her activities and on the day of the incident they had an argument over her human rights work. Having failed to convince Sonia to cease her activities, the defender’s partner shot her in anger. Sonia was taken to Khyber Teaching Hospital with gunshot wounds to the face and a bullet lodged in her throat. Sonia is still in hospital. A First Instance Report (FIR) has been registered against the man who shot Sonia.Taimur Kamal, coordinator of the Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network (Photo courtesy of Front Line Defenders)

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