PESHAWAR: A local court has handed down death sentence and Rs1 million fine to a man for killing transgender person Alishah, whose death had triggered public outcry and protests here in 2016.

Additional district and sessions judge Saadia Andaleeb ruled that the prosecution had fully established its case, while the charges against the accused, Fazal Dayan alias Fazal Gujjar, had been proved beyond any shadow of doubt.

The court ordered the payment of Rs1 million fine as compensation to the legal heirs of the deceased.

It, however, acquitted the co-accused, Rehmatullah, due to a lack of evidence.

The trial court has mostly relied on the dying declaration of Alishah, a 23-year-old transgender activist, who had recorded the statement after she was taken to the Government Lady Reading Hospital in critical condition after the May 23, 2016, attack.

Notorious for extorting money from transgender persons, Fazal Gujjar had fired bullets at Alishah over refusal to meet his ‘illegal demands’.

Court orders payment of Rs1m fine to heirs of deceased

The deceased had remained in critical condition for few days and later on expired in the hospital, which had triggered a public outcry and protests by transgender community and civil society members, who accused the hospital staff of not providing immediate medical treatment to her due to her gender.

The funeral of Alishah was held at the residence of human rights defender Qamar Naseem.

For the first time, the funeral of a transgender person was attended by residents in large numbers apart from members of transgender community.

Assistant public prosecutor for the state, Syeda Alvina Shah, and the counsel for the complainant, Gul Rehman Momand, contended that the accused were directly charged for the commission of the offence in FIR.

They said the murder of the transgender person was blamed on Fazal Gujjar, Rehmatullah and two unidentified absconders and that the dying declaration of the deceased was recorded in line with the law and that it was fully corroborated by the evidence in shape of recoveries and FSL report.

In the detailed judgment, the judge ruled; “The direct nomination of the accused in the dying declaration, recovery of blood and three 30 bore crime empties from the place of occurrence, recovery of crime weapon i.e. 30 bore pistol from direct possession of accused in custody namely Fazal Dayan alias Fazal Gujjar and positive report of FSL, medico legal evidence coupled with pointation of the place of occurrence by the accused, establishment of motive along with rest of the prosecution witnesses’ testimony furnished by them coupled with circumstantial evidence provided, inspire confidence and are worth of credence and unimpeachable.”

She added that it was not appealable to a prudent mind that deceased Alishah, who was unfortunately a transgender person, having no backing of brothers, father, uncle of any family member and being the most weak and ignored part of the society, would make false implication and let free the actual culprit.

According to the Transaction Alliance, an organisation of civil society members working for rights of transgender community, around 67 transgender persons were killed in different incidents of violence across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the last six years.

Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2019