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Transgender activist shot in Pakistan dies as hospital wastes time deciding sex

Deccan Chronicle | DC Correspondent

Published on: May 26, 2016 | Updated on: May 26, 2016

Alisha was shifted to a female ward but then patients there had a problem with her being transgender.

Transgender activist Alisha died after she was shot eight times in an attack on Sunday night. (Photo: Facebook)

Transgender activist Alisha died after she was shot eight times in an attack on Sunday night. (Photo: Facebook)

Peshawar: A 23-year old Pakistani transgender activist, who was shot at 8 times, died in a hospital in Peshawar after staff couldn't decided whether to put her in a male or female ward.

According to a report, the activist, called Alisha, was brought to Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar, in an extremely critical condition and needed emergency surgery, following the attack on her in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province on Sunday night. She later succumbed to her injuries.

The staff at the hospital has been accused of negligence, failing to give her the necessary medical attention required to save her life.

Alisha was the district coordinator of Trans Action Alliance (TAA)- a transgender advocacy group, members of which have written a series of posts on facebook documenting the alleged mistreatment.

'After we protested, Alisha was shifted to a female ward but then female patients had a problem with her being transgender,' they wrote, around four hours after the attack.

Pakistani activist'We really don't know what to do and where to go.'

Some 20 minutes later, the group added: 'Alisha has been operated on. She was shot eight times and her situation is critical.

'The doctors say if she survives she will have to go through several surgeries but right now they are just trying to stabilise her. She is supposed to be in surgical ICU but there are no empty beds and so she's in an ordinary hospital ward which seems like a ward from World War One.'

In a shocking turn, the staff at the hospital is also being accused of sexual harassment, as they asked the group who accompanied Alisha how much they would charge for a dance or to have sex with them, as their friend lay dying.

'The operation theatre male staff kept giving me their numbers and everyone wanted my contact information,' a later post read.

'A doctor wants to know how much I charge to dance for a night and another health technician wants to know if I only dance or also perform sex... I mean WTF... I am with a patient who we don't know whether or not she will survive.' 

Prior to her death, Alisha was very outspoken about the conditions under which the transgender community in Pakistan was forced to live, and even spoke at a rally held in Peshawar on December 10.

Pakistani activist‘Society doesn’t accept us,’ she said. ‘At least we should be recognised as disabled or special persons by society.

‘I left home to avoid being ridiculed but even then people used to come to our houses and make fun of us for some reason or other.

‘We are the most vulnerable segment of society but the government gives us none of the rights due to us.’ 

Alisha is the fifth activist from the TAA to be targeted and attacked in the last few months on the conservative province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

According to estimates by the TAA, there are at least 45,000 transgender people in the province and at least half a million in all of Pakistan.

However, most of them face blatant discrimination in Pakistan's conservative society. While some earn money by dancing at weddings and parties, others are forced to adopt extreme lifestyles such as prostitution or begging on the streets.

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