Nasreen Jabeen

If I don’t conform to one of the two main genders then am I also not a human being? Is my purpose in this life is only to be the subject of ridicule and harassment?

This was stated by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Transgender Association President Arzoo Khan after a horrifying incident in Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital wherein she was subjected to attempted rape and had her clothes torn when she resisted.

According to a video made by Arzoo right after the incident at the hospital, Arzoo said she had gone to the fifth floor of the hospital’s new building for the blood test of her Guru (guardian). When the sample collector informed her it would take one to two hours for the results, she requested if the process could be fast-tracked. However, before she got her answer another lab technician appeared and said if she’s in such a hurry she should come with him to the room next door. Like any patient attendant visiting a hospital, she complied with the staff’s instructions. In the next room, the man began to physically harass and attempted to rape her. When she resisted physically, he got angry and tore off her clothes. Once a hue and cry was made, other people came inside. In the video, Arzoo has also shown two police officials deputed at the hospital standing idly rather than doing their duty and arresting the culprit.

Once the video went viral, the hospital administration formed a three-member committee to inquire into the incident and submit a report. The hospital’s spokesperson, Mohammad Asim, informed Sabaat that the committee’s report and CCTV footage of the hospital were meant to help ascertain the facts of the incident. He assured that legal recourse will be taken against those who broke the law and hospital regulations. Similar assurances were given by SP City Imran Khan whose own teams investigated the incident.

However, a day after the incident, it transpired that the hospital’s inquiry committee had cleared the incident since nothing could be ascertained from the CCTV footage.

Commenting on the hospital’s inquiry, Arzoo claimed the hospital administration had offered her Rs0.1 million to settle the matter as the lab technician had accepted what he did. But she only forgave the culprit on the request of the hospital director and police as she is a forgiving person. However, she asserted that the hospital’s inquiry report as well as CCTV footage should be made public so the facts are in front of everyone’s eyes.

Arzoo informed further that the hospital administration has vowed to incorporate special measures for the treatment and facilitation of transgender persons at its facilities. She reiterated that transgender persons should be treated like any other man or woman, adding that, “is it too much to ask just basic human decency from those around us?”

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