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1099 – Govt. launches Pakistan’s first transgender anti-harassment hotline

The hotline will be connected to the Ministry of Human Rights office as well as the offices of the Inspector Generals of Police in each province.

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In a major development, the government of Pakistan has officially launched the country’s first anti-harassment hotline for the transgender community.

According to the details, the complaint system was launched in collaboration with the Prime Minister’s Strategic Reforms Unit and the Ministry of Human Rights. Transgender citizens facing harassment can call “1099” – which is available 24/7 to complain.

The transgender anti-harassment hotline will be connected to the Ministry of Human Rights office as well as the offices of the Inspector Generals (IGs) of Police in each province and the complaints will be processed and addressed within 24 hours.

This is a welcoming move since the transgender community in Pakistan faces severe persecution. Members of the transgender community are brutally harassed and have no place to go as their own families have turned their backs on them. They also face unemployment.

Read more: Rights of the transgender community: A need to do more?

Moreover, the transgender community is routinely subjected to targeted attacks. As many as seven transgenders have been murdered in the last five months in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone, and according to transgender activists, 87 were killed there over the last seven years.

As a result, the government is taking active steps to protect the rights of the transgender community and taking initiatives to ensure their safety.

Controversy on Transgender Persons Act

Pertinent to mention that government steps to protect the transgender community is sometimes faced with controversy, for instance, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act of 2018 which is the subject of a growing debate, and several religious political parties have recently expressed their opposition to it, claiming that it creates the possibility of legalizing homosexuality in the nation.

Although this allegation has been refuted by government representatives, the opposition to the bill, which was passed to safeguard the nation’s transgender citizens, is likely to risk their lives.

To clarify, the Transgender Act 2018 allows transgender persons equal rights to education, basic health facilities, the right to have their transgender identity on their identity cards and passports, the right to vote, and the right to contest an election.

Read more: Netizens applaud the efforts of Pakistan’s first transgender school