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Father arrested over murder of trans daughter, 19, in Pakistan

Father arrested over murder of trans daughter, 19, in Pakistan

Maya (left) was gunned down and later found in a river bank in Pakistan, she took a photo with her friend just days before | Picture: Facebook

Police in Pakistan have arrested a man for the murder of his own trans daughter, officials said yesterday (31 June).

Maya, a 19-year-old trans woman from the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa [خیبر پښتونخوا], had left home and was living with friends in Peshawar, the province’s capital.

But after authorities allowed family members to take Maya home to the city of Nowshera, locals found her dead nearby only hours later.

What happened?

Maya’s father was allegedly ‘upset’ that his daughter was trans, according to The Tribune Express.

Her family on Saturday had attempted to bring her home and Maya’s friends, concerned for her safety, alerted the authorities.

But police later allowed the family members to take Maya back home to the city of Nowshera.

Officer Azmat Khan said Aurangzeb Akbar, the teenager’s father, provided the police with a written assurance that he would not harm his child.

But locals found Maya bullet-ridden only hours later on Saturday night. Beside a river bank in Nowshera.

‘Today she is no more’

According to local trans rights group Trans Activists Pakistan, ‘a large number of people and relatives attended’ Maya’s funeral yesterday, held in Nowshera.

Also, in a previous statement on the day of her death, the group simply said: ‘Life is beautiful. Please let us [trans people] live.

LGBTI rights group Trans Activists Pakistan shared a heartwarming tribute to Maya | Screen grab: Facebook
LGBTI rights group Trans Activists Pakistan shared a heartwarming tribute to Maya | Screen grab: Facebook

‘Photo of Maya (on the left) taken few days back with her friend in Peahawar.

‘Today she is no more. #TransAction.’

‘Violence against the transgender community is getting worse’

President of Trans Action Pakistan, Farzana Jana, told Gay Star News: ‘The transgender community is much more likely to be violently attacked than any other marginalized group in Khyber Pakhtukhwa.

‘Despite increased visibility in media and enactment of the national
level law, violence against the transgender community is getting worse.

‘Lives of transgender community in Pakistan can not improve without education and deeper learning about the transgender community.

‘Laws alone are not sufficient, there needs to be empathy and rule of law’

63+ deaths in four years

But Maya’s death comes just weeks after a similar incident occurred in the northwest region of Pakistan.

On June 18, two trans women were injured when still unidentified assailants opened fire on them near Takjt Bhai in Mardan.

One of the victims received four bullets – two in the legs and two in their stomach.

While the assailant(s) struck the other victim with a single bullet.

Moreover, a report by Trans Action Pakistan said that, from 2015 to February 2019, 63 trans people have been killed in the province.

LGBTI rights in Pakistan

In 2018, the Parliament of Pakistan passed a measure that enshrined a plethora of broad protections for trans people.

The Transgender Person (Protections of Rights) Act 2018 gave trans citizens the right to self-identify. Moreover, the bill forbids transphobia in the workplace and public accommodations.

However, LGB+ people face legal challenges in several forms.

Not only does the Pakistani penal code criminalize homosexuality, but there is no equal age of consent, marriage equality, rights to adoption, protection from discrimination in the law, nor a right to serve in the military.

See also

Pakistani police officer suspended after raiding birthday party for trans person

500 Pakistani people test positive for HIV after ‘rogue doctor’ uses contaminated needle

Pakistan human rights minister hires first trans employee