13 transgenders to contest general elections this year
ISLAMABAD: Following passage of transgenders’ rights’ bill from the Parliament, the transgender persons will now be able to exercise their rights without any fear of marginalization.
In this connection, at least 13 transgender persons will contest general elections this year. Of the 13 contestants, two will run for the National Assembly while the rest will contest for provincial assembly seats. The announcement was made at a national consultation organised by All Pakistan Transgender Election Network (APTEN) in collaboration with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The names of the aspiring lawmakers were also shared during the meeting. They include Arzu Khan (PK-33), Lubna (PP-26), Komal (PP-38), Madam Bhutto (PP-189), Nayab (NA-142), Ashee (Candidate from Punjab) , Farzana Riaz (NA-33) and others.
The objective of consultation was to bring all the candidates and other stakeholders at discussion table where they could share their concerns and way forward. The major concern of the candidates was regarding their identity documents such as CNIC among others. They shared a problem related to their CNICs in which they are mentioned as male in gender section but by appearance they look like women.
The national consultation was attended by all the potential candidates and representatives from their assigned constituencies where they highlighted their demands and importance of political inclusion and empowerment of transgender persons in Pakistan.
Additional Director General (Gender Affairs) Nighat Siddique said, “In the upcoming electoral process ECP will ensure a friendly and inclusive system for the transgender community not only as voters but also as candidates.”
Protecting transgenders’ rights
On May 9, the National Assembly approved the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018 aimed at ensuring rights of transgender persons.
Under the proposed law, transgender persons will be able to register to obtain driving licence and passport. They will have the option to get their gender changed in the National Database and Registration Authority’s record.
According to the bill, harassment of transgender persons will be prohibited in and outside their homes. They will not be discriminated against by educational institutions, employers, in trade and health services, and when using public transport and buying or selling or renting property.
The bill proposes to establish a safe house for such persons and provide them medical and educational facilities and psychological counselling. Similarly, separate rooms will be established at jails where these persons could be detained. In addition to all basic rights, they will be entitled to inherit property.