Transgender persons urge for proper facilities, security on election day

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  • APTEN says 11 transgender persons have submitted nomination papers so far

PESHAWAR: The All Pakistan Transgender Election Network (APTEN) demanded the government and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure proper facilities including maximum security for transgender persons and their properties on the election day July 25.

APTEN comprises TransAction KP, the Sindh Transgender Welfare Network, the Balochistan Alliance for Transgender and Intersex Community and the Punjab Transgender Foundation. The network was established with support of United Nations and ECP with a view to politically empower the transgender community throughout the country.

During a press conference on Wednesday, the transgender representatives from different parts of the country said that purposes of the network are to ensure close coordination for encouraging the transgender representatives to contest elections.

Farzana Jan, who is leading the transgender community of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), said that their representation in parliament is a must for raising voice for their rights and to ensure these rights through legislation. She, however, regretted that except Awami National Party (ANP), all the other political parties were silent in the election manifestoes regarding their rights.

“There is nothing even in Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s 11-point agenda,” Farzana added.

Nayab Ali said that the transgender persons are also citizens of this country and they deserve equal rights, and for the same purpose, they are participating in the election. Nayab, however, expressed concern over the lack of facilities and services for the transgender in election process and urged the civil society organisations to raise voices in this respect.

Qamar Nasim, an activist, said , “The passage of Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018 calls for commitment for equitable and expeditious inclusion of transgender persons in electoral and democratisation processes, elections and towards long-term development planning at all levels.” He urged the government to ensure provision of due fundamental human and political rights to transgender, and that they should take part in political and democratisation process without any fear.

According to the transgender representatives, 11 of them have filed nomination papers from various parts of the country and so far nomination papers of two candidates have been accepted. Only two persons are contesting from KP in Haripur and Mansehra districts of Hazara division.

Both Farzana Jan and Arzoo intend to contest polls from Peshawar but due to security threats and lack of resources they aren’t doing so.

The number of registered voters of their community throughout the country is 1,948 votes whereas their population is 10,400.