Advisor to Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani after unveiling the budget details in June 2016 for the fiscal year 2016-17 pledged that that the provincial government has earmarked Rs200 million for the welfare of transgendered community of the province.
The transgendered community in Peshawar has faced discrimination and violence time and again particularly in the issue of transgender persons like Alisha, who was shot multiple times in Peshawar.
After moving to the hospital, he was allegedly denied medical aid in KP’s largest tertiary care Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar. He later died in the hospital as reportedly the doctors were arguing that if the patient could be admitted in male or female ward.
The provincial government received flares of criticism from human rights activist after Alisha’s death incident from across the world. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf led provincial government has pledged that they will allocate funds for the welfare of transgender persons in the province.
In wake of discriminatory attitude towards the transgendered individuals from the society, KP government has earmarked Rs200 million in the budget for fiscal year 2016-17 to construct Skill Development and Rehabilitation centers for the transgendered population.
The Social Welfare Department of the province was tasked by the government to collect relevant data of transgendered population residing in the province for the establishment of the skill development centre.
However, so far the government has completed its three quarters since the budget has been passed but not a single penny has been released for establishment of the center for transgendered.
The rights activist expressed concerns over the delays in utilization and release of the budget allocated for welfare of transgendered community. Speaking to Truth Tracker Pakistan, Coordinator Blue Veins Organization and member Advisory Board Trans Action Alliance KP, Qamar Naseem said it was the failure of the social welfare department who, despite directives from the provincial government, are yet to formulate a strategy to establish the skill development centre for transgender.
He said he had had meetings with government representatives and got to know that the budget has been decreased from Rs200 million to Rs50 million owing to lack of interest by social welfare department.
“Not a single penny has been spent so far in relation to establishment of skill development centre for transgender population while the financial year is nearing its end,” Naseem added.
He lamented that the social welfare department was asked to collect data of transgender, but three-pages long form in English were handed over to the transgender population which they were unable to understand since most of them are illiterate.
Speaking to Truth Tracker Pakistan, KP Transgender Association said that for the last 10 months since the budget has been allocated, the government hasn’t consulted the transgendered community for establishment of the projects.
He said that the transgender persons have been handed forms to fill it for collection of the data, of which few have been filled and submitted. “But many trans persons in various districts weren’t able to fill them since they are illiterate.”
He bemoaned the fact that government has time and again promised with the trans community for establishment of flats and centers for the last many years but the promises are yet to be fulfilled.
A letter issue by Provincial Social Welfare department, copy of which is available with Truth Tracker, directed the District Social Officers that the high officials are getting hard over delays in collection of data of the transgender population.
“You [District Officer Social Welfare] are requested to collect data of transgender in your respective districts according to given format/Performa for completion with bureau of statistics and Planning and Development department at the earliest,” the letter read.
Naseem said that since social welfare department hasn’t collected the data so no work has been initiated on the project for transgender while KP government in a meeting with Trans Action Alliance has pledged that there wouldn’t be any issue of release of the funds but preparation of PC-1 (planning commission report) is necessary which is to be prepared by social welfare department.
However, KP Director Social Welfare department Muhammad Naeem said that PC1 for establishment of the Skill Development Centre has been prepared and submitted to the department concern. “Working on the project will be started after its approval from Provincial Working Development Party (PWDP): a committee which approves PC1 of the projects.
When asked why not a penny has been released for the project, he told Truth Tracker that the funds will be released after the PC1 approval from the concern committee of the provincial government and working on data collection has been kicked off in districts. “Data collection process of the transgender will be completed in approximately 20 days and the whole project would be completed in the next financial year,” claimed Naeem.
Talking about the challenges in establishment of the centre, he said that it’s not an easy task but need efforts like signing Memorandum of Understanding with different stakeholders including health department, government technical skills board, and other trainers.
After reviewing the opinions of independent experts, stakeholders and concern government officials, Truth Tracker has concluded that work on the promise is underway, however the process is too slow and experts fears the funds may lapse owing to the social welfare department dragging its feet.