We would like to thank all our friends, allies and comrades for the widespread support they have shown us over the last twenty four hours. We are all devastated by the events that have unfolded, and deeply aware of how nothing can undo the harm. There is no fix, no resolution when it comes to this kind of violence. It will haunt us all for a long time. Our utmost priority in this moment is the well being of our trans comrade who was tortured and sexually violated. This is an extremely difficult time for her and for the community, and we would like to request all media representatives to please approach the community with the sensitivity and compassion that the situation demands.
Our march on Sunday was a People’s Climate March. We sought to challenge the very systems of oppression that tried to brutally contain and disrupt our protest. We would like to tell them: you cannot silence us. We will continue fighting for our city, our environment and our future. We will continue working with communities that you systematically exploit and oppress. We will take back our city from the hands of extractive developers, we will continue fighting for an equitable and sustainable Karachi.
In this fight, we are up against multiple systems of power that construct false legalities and false conceptualizations of ‘justice.’ We have repeatedly witnessed how the law has been weaponized against the most vulnerable in our society to protect those with power. Hundreds of false FIRs have been filed against victims of forced displacement to protect the interests of developers like Bahria Town; affectees from Gujjar and Orangi Nala, Karachi Circular Railway, Malir Expressway, have been repeatedly on the receiving end of police violence for wanting to protect their homes from arbitrary demolitions, and Karachi’s indigenous people and fisherfolk are being systematically dispossessed of their land and livelihoods.
In light of all of that, we have no faith in our systems of ‘justice’. They are created and controlled by those in power to serve their interests. And so, we will not be filing an FIR against the unidentified men who raped and abducted our trans comrade on the night before our march. This decision has been reached in consultation with the survivor and other organizing groups.
That said, we are cognizant of the fact that the Ministry of Human Rights and the office of the Sindh Chief Minister have taken notice of this issue and are in conversation with the Khwajasira community about it. We would strongly urge them to also take a look at our manifesto, and the demands from the Khwajasira community mentioned in it. What happened on the night of the 11th of December is not an isolated incident. Violence against the Khwajasira community is systemic and has been institutionalized. Two women lost their lives to it today.
In our manifesto for the march we demanded that the government set up a network of safe houses for the community across the city; that a housing scheme be introduced for the trans community in Karachi; and that the harassment and blatant discrimination against members of the community by housing societies and landlords be criminalized under provincial law. If MOHR and Sindh CM are truly committed to working on this issue, we would like to see them ensure sustainable and structural change – which we are convinced will never happen.
Thank you once again for your support. Long live our struggle!