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Transgenders community, supporters protest attack by ‘beelas’ in Karachi

Sindh government urged to deliver on job quota promise

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 25, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 weeks ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Sep 25, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 weeks ago

Members of the transgender community and their supporters hold a demonostration outisde Karachi Press Club to protest violence against khawajasiras. PHOTO ONLINE

A large number of trans people and dozens of their supporters have staged a demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club to protest a recent attack against khawajasiras by beelas – men who routinely and systematically commit violence against transwomen.

The protestors also denounced what they called “the beela culture” that has existed in Pakistan since the colonial era. 

Bindya Rana, a khawajasira leader and the founder of Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA), took the occasion to remind the Sindh government that it needed to honour its promising of reserving 0.5 jobs for trans people.

The attack

A group of khawajasiras – as the transgender people are known in Urdu – was attacked on September 19 as they gathered to celebrate the birthday of one of the community members at a farmhouse on the outskirts of Karachi.

The attackers also beat Dr Muhammad Moiz who had been invited to the party as a guest, being a khawajasira supporter and activist.

It was not the first or a rare attack against khawajasiras and it could have led to a worse outcome had some people not intervened.

Read more on the incident:

A night of Beela-Moorat violence in Karachi’s khwajasira world

‘Beela culture’

The protest aimed at raising awareness about deep-rooted injustice faced by the transgender community, some of the protesters and organizers told journalists outside the press club.

The injustice was rooted in the beela culture, said Dr Moiz and others.

This incident was just one among so many the history of similar violence and atrocities that beelas have committed against Khwajasiras, they said.

Beela is a term used by the transgender community for those who perpetrate violence against khawajasiras for rejecting their coercive sexual behaviour.

The word literally means ‘a bad person or thing,’ according to Akhtar Baloch who has authored a study on the khawajasiras and their esoteric language called Farsi Chand.

Dr Moiz and other protestors said violence against transgender people was introduced to the subcontinent by the British who destroyed and outlawed “our beautiful khwajasira culture.”

“They gave birth to our modern society where we do not respect khwajasiras and other trans-feminine bodies, creating room for ‘beelas’ to emerge,” said one of the protestors.

Job quota

Khawajasiras have campaigned for rights including the freedom to work and earn their livelihood in a respectable manner.

In October 2019, the Sindh cabinet decided to allocate a 0.5% quota in public sector jobs for khawajasiras, says Bindya Rana.  

Addressing the protesters outside the press club, she reminded Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah of the decision and urged him to honour the promise.

Rana said the Sindh government did not walk the talk. “Sindh Social Welfare Department has made a community centre for transgender people in Karachi, but it did not appoint a single transgender to work in the community centre,” Rana said.

GIA members demanded of the law enforcement agencies to arrest the beelas involved in the September 19 attack.

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trangender protest in Karachi, khawajasira protest in Karachi, beela culture, who are beelas, farmhouse attack, Gender Interactive Alliance (GIA)
 

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