PESHAWAR: The transgender community Tuesday urged the provincial government for protection and justice by registering cases against those torturing and threatening them.
Speaking at a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club, the president of the transgender alliance Farzana and others complained that violence against them was increasing with the passage of each day, forcing many transgendered persons to leave the city. The transgender association office-bearers observed that the local police had failed to protect them, saying that some unidentified persons were threatening a member of their community, Ghazala. The police, she said, seemed helpless to take action against the influential persons despite registering cases.
Farzana said Peshawar had become unsafe for them and they could not participate in their scheduled programmes.
She said ‘immoral’ videos were being made and they were tortured but the police registered ‘weak’ cases against the accused due to which they came out of jails and torture against them continued unabated.
The transvestites, she said, were being accused of resorting to firing despite the fact that they did not indulge in such acts. She said the community demanded nothing but safety of life and honour. They sought registration of cases to curb violence against them.
During the press conference, DSP cantonment Ihsan Shah entered the main hall where the office-bearers of the transgender association were addressing a press conference and tried to stop them from doing so. They exchanged harsh words.
The official threatened the transvestites and the finance secretary of the press club when he tried to intervene. The DSP was accompanied by other cops, but protest by journalists forced him to leave.
The journalists protested that this was the first time that a police officer along with his team raided the press club and trampled its sanctity. They argued that everyone had the right to highlight their problems and raised voice for their rights.
The journalists held the government responsible for police action and demanded action against the erring cops.
The Khyber Union of Journalists (KhUJ) condemned the police raid on the press Club, saying this was the first time that the police besieged the club.
Criticising the ‘exemplary’ police, they said such action has exposed the government and police, which could not tolerate criticism.
The KhUJ announced to stage a protest demonstration against police hooliganism outside Peshawar Press Club on Wednesday (today).
In a statement, the president and general secretary, Fida Khattak and Naeem Khan respectively demanded action against DSP for threatening members of the transgender community and press club's finance secretary Yasir Hussain or else they would stage protests throughout the province.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ) also strongly condemned the attack on Peshawar Press Club by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police and kidnapping of persons who were holding a press conference inside the premises of PPC.
In joint statement, PFUJ President Shahzada Zulfiqar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi said that press clubs all over the world are respected places and entrance of police or security officials are regarded as state interferences and denial of press freedom. “This is a worst example set by KP police of harassment and a case of desecration and disrespect to the sanctity of the press club,” they said.
They said such incidents bring a bad name to the country as harassment and kidnapping of persons is an illegal act of police, adding that free speech or expression is a constitutional right of every citizen of Pakistan.
“How can police stop people from expressing and elaborating their issues through press conference and that too peacefully?” the PFUJ leadership questioned.
They demanded an enquiry into the incident and stern action against those who are responsible for attacking the press club.