Subaltern can’t speak: Govt should include transgender in BISP, Ahsas and other social safety programs

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Muhammad Arshid (P.hD Scholar)

All human are created equal and are equal in term of their basic rights including human dignity and natural rights. The human basic rights have been established through three milestones in human history. First of all it can be traced back to the Farewell Sermon delivered by Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) on the occasion of Haj. This was a complete sermon where Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) has categorically emphasized on the equality of all human, eliminating every type of prejudice on the basis of cost, colour, and sex.

It was a complete message for rest of humanity to follow the guidelines and to keep human dignity as top most priority in every term. Secondly, almost the same rights have been established by United Nation universal declaration of human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a milestone document in history; the United Nations notes that “it sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.” It further agree that The UN General Assembly adopted the declaration on December 10, 1948. While progress has been made in upholding human rights, violations continue, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights continues to remind us that we all have human rights and we must stand up for them.

It is tto worth mention here that the same rights have been adopted in 1973 constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. As the Article no. 8 to 28 of the constitution ensure the fundamental rights without any prejudice, bias or discrimination. Despite of the commitments and establishment of human rights by above mentioned three historic documents the transgender community in Pakistan is suffering marginalization. They are reported to be sexually, mentally, psychology and physically harassed by the society. All human being in the world have equal   human rights to enjoy without any discrimination of their, caste, creed and culture.

But the transgender community enjoys the least amount of respect or rights in the world general and in Pakistan particular. Majority of the people in the country did not consider them as a part of their society, they don’t like to eat, drink and interact with them. Being marginalized and mistreated in the society they do not have their fundamental rights and do not consider equally like other citizen of Pakistan. According to the Census of 2017, Pakistan’s total population is 207.75 million and   transgender people are 10418. This constitutes just .005 per cent of the total population of the country. The actual estimates of transgender in Pakistan are more than reported  in the census .  According to the estimate of trans- welfare unions, there are more two million transgender living with their Gurus/teachers only in colonies/rented houses.

It is totally unjust to keep this community miserable despite of historic judgment passed by Honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan to ensure their fundamental rights and same has been followed by A bill passed by august parliament of Pakistan. The COVID-19 pandemic  and then governmental preventive measures of lockdown and closer of social and recreational activities throughout the country the  vulnerable groups of daily wages, Rehry Ban and especially transgender community faced considerable challenges and miseries that suffered them more than others. The pandemic issue in the country enlarged already existing stigma and discrimination towards the transgender community in the society.

During the pandemic, transgender community in Pakistan found themselves in distress and challenging situation. The social distancing protocols and preventive measures against COVID-19 affected their lives due to social inequalities in our society.  They lost employment opportunities and then consequently they were unable to afford their basic needs of life including food ,clothing, shelter and basic health facilities. Despite of all these commitments they are living a subaltern life in Pakistan where government need to consider them on priority basis and at least to include transgender in BISP, Ahsas and other social safety programs so that their survival can be ensured specially during these natural catastrophe like COVID-19.