“Why don’t you shoot me? I don’t want to live anymore,” cried a shattered Shanaya, a transgender person while speaking to The Nation. Shayana was in Sialkot to earn her living when she was picked up by some people then beaten, had her hair cut, raped and forced to drink urine by one of the gangsters called Jajja Butt.

Shanaya spoke to The Nation after assurance from Uzma Yaqoob, founder of Forum for Dignity Initiatives, and Qamar Naseem, founder of Blue Veins who have been working for the rights of the transgender community for quite some time. Many serious issues faced by transgender people in the society are highlighted by them and they have become a voice for these people. This case was taken up by FDI and Blue Veins too.

In the past one year there have been numerous cases of transgender people being tortured and some getting killed. Till now no one has been punished for it. Even though people are arrested they are released after some time.

That is what Shayana fears as well. But she says she will fight for her right. “I am a human being also and deserve to live a respectful life. Why should we always hide ourselves in the dark alleys of posh cities?”

Questioning the justice system she said, “What if one of the politicians' son or daughter is treated in the same manner or is injected with aids tainted blood, or even gets into an accident? How many people will ignore the story? Even though these politicians have destroyed this country, everyone will still be worried about them. But when it happens to us no one cares. People laugh at us, taunt us and use us only for their entertainment.”

When asked why she doesn’t leave this profession and adopt another field she asked what else could she do? Hardly anyone of them has any school education. “No one offers us skilled training in any other field and no one gives us a job. So how would anyone expect us to earn a living? Why don’t you ask men to stop using us as a source of entertainment and give us proper jobs?”

Another transgender person Julie, spoke to The Nation and said, “I was raped in Faisalabad because I am a transgender. When I speak to people about it they laugh at us and say ‘you can be raped as well?’ Where should we go? There is no place in Pakistan where we can live peacefully. It is better we die once than die every day like this. We never chose this life.”

Jajja and his accomplice had kidnapped Adeeba, Dillagi, Hina, Adil and Shanaya. They were taken to Phool’s house, a transgender person with links to the gang, where they were severely tortured. According to DSP Saddar Sialkot Tariq Sukhera, “These transgender persons were ‘friends’ with the group. According to the investigation the group did not extort any money from them but had asked them not to perform without their permission.”

As soon as video of Jajja Butt torturing a transgender was put on social media it created frenzy and forced police to arrest the culprits. “Within 24 hours the culprits were arrested including Jajja Butt,” said the DSP.

About the background of the culprits the DSP said, “They come from normal family backgrounds and are not part of any extortion group.” Regarding DNA tests he added, “All tests have been conducted in Lahore’s forensic laboratory.”

Uzma Yaqoob had earlier raised her voice against Julie and Nomi’s rape in Faisalabad. Mani Choor, the rapist, was arrested. In Shanaya’s case Uzma stands firmly by her side and while speaking to The Nation said, “FDI accommodated Julie, Nomi and Shanaya for three months, provided them food, shelter and facilitated them for DNA examination but we have limited resources. Shanaya and Julie left for Sialkot to earn some money from dancing functions and there they were again gang raped by this gangster Jajja Butt and his friends.”

Uzma spoke about Jajja and the way he tortured other transgenders previously. “He not only raped Julie and Shanaya but 20 other transwomen in Sialkot as well. He forced transwomen into sex slavery and demanded extortion money and on refusal he abused them both physically and sexually. He forced them to drink his urine and cut their hair.”

“Shanya says there is another man involved in this whole case who actually asked Jajja Butt to abuse Shanaya and Julie. She says his name is Raees and he is the son of a local mill owner in Sialkot,” Uzma said.

When asked if anyone is stepping forward to help FDI Uzma said, “We are still receiving threats from both within and outside the community to stop supporting the transgender community or else be ready for horrible consequences. There is no protection for me and other workers in this field. Only few words of appreciation will not do, we need concrete actions as we want to see real change in the lives of the transgender community. I reaffirm my commitment that nothing can stop me from fighting against inequalities and injustice.”

After Shanaya’s rape another sexual abuse case has emerged in Haripur where Bulbul tried to cut her veins as she too did not want to live a life of humiliation anymore. She was sure she would not get justice.