Despite the ruling party pushing for progressive legislation to protect the rights of the vulnerable, violations of the rights of labour, children and the transgender community are at an all-time high in the country according to the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR). The translation of legislation into ground realities is minimal, and considering the atrocities carried out against the transgender community in particular, we as a collective society are a long way behind on recognising their right to a dignified life.

Pakistan’s transgender community has faced an uphill battle to be accepted as equal citizens with rights according to the country’s constitution. In 2012, a landmark decision by the Supreme Court decreed that they be issued with computerised national identity cards, thus for the first time officially listing their existence as a legal third gender. However, they remain in the shadows, and the police and government is loath to protect them. Since the beginning of 2016, nearly 45 transgender women have been attacked in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

A large part of the problem lies with law enforcement agencies. The very people sworn to protect the vulnerable, often become the perpetrators, and the hope for justice is diminished entirely. Kasur’s child abuse scandal saw the involvement of the police, who protected the paedophiles that destroyed the lives of 300 children. No one has been convicted yet. Trans women in Peshawar have recently started posting on Facebook about police violence against at the trans community.

Labour rights continue to be thwarted every day, and those carrying out hazardous work to ensure the economic prosperity of others are burnt, buried alive in debris or suffocated to death in factory fires, collapsing of mines and in other occupational hazards. The Gadani Yard accident points glaringly at the lack of emergency services for those in the line of hazardous duty.

In June of this year, three armed men broke into the home of a transgender woman and attempted to rape her, shooting her to death upon resistance. Transgender activist Alisha was shot to death by six men, simply because she dared to ask to be treated with respect. While society has the right to dislike, and disagree, they do not have the right to physically attack any Pakistani citizen or strip them of their economic and legal rights.