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Photo Source: Dawn

Pakistan Reader# 411, 21 November 2022

Sindh Moorat March



Does the march reach the whole of Pakistan and get their demands fulfilled?

Joel Jacob

On 20 November, transgender activists gathered for the 'Sindh Moorat March 2022' at Karachi’s Frere hall. The march was organized by the transgender community and is believed to be the first of its kind, the campaign marks equal rights and raises awareness of discrimination against their community. It was attended by politicians, lawyers, and human rights activists. The protest saw hundreds of people carrying placards and chanting slogans calling for the rights of the transgender community. The march’s main aim was to implement the Trans rights law. The slogan of ‘Zan, Zindagi and Azad’ (woman, life and free) to show solidarity with women in Iran was adopted along with the protest. Strong protection was deployed for the security of protestors ahead of the march.

The organizers of the march and many Trans activists received threats to be “killed, with knives, bullets as well as threats of acid attacks and rape.” Often deprived of an education due to the stigma, 42 per cent of the Pakistan Trans community is illiterate, forcing many to resort to begging, dancing or sex work. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s Regional Coordinator Kaleem Durrani was also present and said that he was happy to see the transgender community standing up to fight for their rights. He said, “We are also fighting for this for them and they have reached this stage to demand their rights with a lot of struggle. They have even sacrificed their lives.” He encouraged the march thus with full motivation and made the march possible to reach all over Pakistan.

Agendas of the march
The Sindh Moorat March has 12 main demands, the first being criminalization of Trans phobic hate speech and its implementation. The law of Diyyat (blood money or family pardon) should be kept out of the murder of Trans persons. According to Pakistan’s Trans-Action Alliance, since 2015 91 Trans women have been killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and there have been more than 2,000 registered cases of violence. It outlined that the right to “self-perceived” gender identity should be safeguarded as it was every individual’s basic right. It also demanded a 0.2 per cent quota for Trans persons for employment and education institutions. Furthermore, the organizers urged the government to protect the Transgender Persons’ Protection of Rights Act 2018 “in its original form” and pass the bill. Other demands included the sensitization of the masses to deal with members of the transgender community and strict action against hate speech and misinformation against transgender persons. (Imtiaz Ali, “Transgender activists demand equal rights, protection in Pakistan’s ‘first’ trans rights march in Karachi,” Dawn, 20 November 2022; Shazia Hasan , “Transgender march seeks right to live with dignity, equality and respect,” Dawn, 21 November 2022; Sameer Madhro, “Transgender people demand rights at first ‘Moorat March’,” The Express Tribune, 21 November 2022)

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