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May 28, 2018

Two transgenders to contest election from Peshawar

National

May 28, 2018


PESHAWAR: Two transgender persons from Khyber Pakhtun-khwa have decided to contest the general election 2018 as independent candidates on national and provincial seats from the Peshawar city.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa TransAction Association President Farzana Riaz and secretary general Arzu have contacted the All Pakistan Transgender Election Network (APTEN). They have called for including them in the list of the transgender persons who want to contest general election. “I will contest the general election from NA-27 Peshawar,” Farzana told The News on Sunday. She said she had the support of the majority of the transgender persons living in Gulbahar area of the constituency. She, however, admitted that there was no chance for the transgender persons to win a seat in an open contest.

Similarly, another transgender, Arzu, who is a government employee, has also decided to contest the general election from PK-77, Peshawar. “I will resign from my government job in Town-III to contest the upcoming general election,” Arzu told The News.

She said other transgender persons including Rani from Mansehra district also desired to contest the election. Qamar Naseem, a member of the Chief Minister’s Special Committee on Rights of Transgender Persons (KP) and member of the National Task Force, told The News that the names of 13 transgender persons were announced for contesting the 2018 general election as independent candidates. He said that two of them are from KP. He said that the other candidates, including a potential candidate Nayab, will contest election from NA-142 in Okara Punjab, Komal from PP-38, Lubna from PP-26 and Madam Bhutto from PP-189. Qamar Naseem said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had started contacts with Nayab after she announced her election from NA-142.

About reserved seats for transgender persons, he said it was not possible at the moment as it needed an amendment to the Political Parties Act. However, he said APTEN had decided that after the election a proper movement will be launched for reserved seats of the transgender persons in the country.

When asked about the support of the candidates, he said, the APTEN would give them support in the campaign for the election in the media and social media. He said that the transgender persons’ major concern from Nadra was regarding their identity documents including CNIC. He said that some female transgender persons complained that they were mentioned male in the gender section and vice versa.

Qamar Naseem further added that under the ECP Act 2017 and under Article 48-A and B transgender community were included in the vulnerable community which means that they shall not be required to stand in a queue and will be given priority of right to vote in the election.

However, he said that some four transgender persons had earlier contested the general election but they could not do it properly. However, this year the community has constituted APTEN, which will provide them a platform to contest the election in an organised manner.

In the consultation session, he said the ECP representatives assured that special arrangements would be made for the transgender persons to actively participate in the 2018 general election.

On the other hand, the KP transgender community writ petition is also pending with the Peshawar High Court (PHC). They have sought an order for the court to direct the government to allocate reserved seats for them in the national and provincial assemblies and also make special arrangements for them in the election. The high court would hear the case on June 5, in the case as the ECP failed to submit a reply in the previous three hearings in the case.

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