We strongly condemn the attack and torture perpetrated against our trans sister Rimal Ali. It is truly shocking to see the abuse, harassment and blackmail she has had to suffer for the past two years. Rimal recently spoke out against her abusers and shared horrifying details of the torture she has been put through. We admire her courage and stand in solidarity with her.
Rimal’s is a well known name in the entertainment industry and her achievements are a matter of pride for our entire community. Her abuse at the hands of a gang exposes how precarious the lives of transgender persons, especially transwomen, are in Pakistan. The persons who have not accrued the socioeconomic privileges that Rimal has are even more vulnerable to such violence. There has been an increase in hate crimes against the community in Pakistan in the past year. In a matter of two months, two esteemed transgender activists were attacked at their own homes. The recent spat of violence all over the country indicates the glaring lack of protections for the community. The steps taken by the government have failed to address this wave of violence. According to recently available data, more than 95% transgender persons suffer sexual violence, harassment and abuse on a repeated basis but less than 8% complaints are filed and an even smaller percentage of perpetrators convicted.
This is a state of emergency and there is no reprieve. The community has been robbed of our sense of safety and peace. We demand that strictest action be taken to apprehend the gang who have targeted Rimal and that Rimal be provided adequate protections by the state since her life is in danger. We urge the Minister of Human Rights Shireen Mazari and respective provincial authorities to take concrete steps against this systemic violence perpetrated against transgender persons on a daily basis through legal reforms, police accountability and addressing the root causes transphobic violence. We deserve nothing less.