Thousands of transgender persons could not vote, claims rights activist


LAHORE: Thousands of transgender voters could not exercise their right to vote in Wednesday’s general elections due to lack of proper sex identification in the Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs), according to a rights activist.

The country’s 2017 national census put the number of transgender persons at 10,418, a number that has been widely disputed by members of the community.

But the identity cards, with the category of Gender X, were issued only to 127 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“Pakistan has a large number of transgender people, who are old enough to cast vote, but only 913 were registered in the 2017 census,” said Blue Veins Programme Coordinator Qamar Naseem.

In June 2018, she added, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar had ordered to provide the community with free-of-cost CNICs.

She also highlighted the social taboos, which forced her community members to keep away from the polling stations.

“They avoided to use their right to franchise at men-only booths because they have been given ‘male’ sex identity in their CNICs,” she explained.

Naseem also criticised the political leadership for not giving due consideration to this issue, thus depriving thousands of this segment of their right to vote.

According to the activist, Blue Veins had also filed a writ petition in this regard with the Peshawar High Court (PHC) which had issued notices to the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA).