It has been more than eight years since U.S. Navy SEALS ceremoniously raided the compound and killed the most wanted man in the world – September 11 mastermind, Usama bin Laden. And while the world’s eyes are now set on eliminating other terrorist targets from ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi to new Al Qaeda chief, Ayman al Zawahiri – the Pakistani doctor who played a pivotal role in that 2011 operation is still languishing behind bars with little hope of seeing the daylight in the future.
While the news this week that Christian woman Asia Bibi has safely exited Pakistan after years on death row – having been falsely held on blasphemy charges has been lauded by officials and activists globally – the fight for justice is far from over. Bibi’s very prison cell is now home to another impoverished Christian woman, and the same Lahore-based attorney, Saif-ul Malook, is representing both the woman and her Christian husband. The pair have been sentenced to death under a questionable conviction of insulting Islam.
It’s a dark underworld rarely brought to light in discussions of human rights and refugees. But there is a growing pool of refugees in Pakistan – those who have fled oppression in neighboring Afghanistan and Bangladesh – who identify as transgender, and have nowhere to go but hide by day and take up sex work by night.