PESHAWAR: Senior government officials on Tuesday stressed the need for issuing proper identity cards to transgender persons to help the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) ensure their effective participation in the upcoming Local Government (LG) elections.
They were speaking at a sensitization session arranged for the officials of the regional office of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Election Commission. The Aawaz II District Forum executive committee had organized the programme.
A transgender rights expert and Programme Coordinator for a civil society organization (CSO), Blue Veins. Qamar Naseem, facilitated the event.
Syed Ahmed Khan, Director, Election Commission, KP, Sohail khan Deputy Director, Election Commission Pakistan, Aawaz II District Forum members, other Election Commission officials, transgendered community representatives and media persons attended the function.
The session focused on transgender persons political participation in the upcoming Local government elections as voters and candidates.
The speakers shed light on the federal and provincial legal framework available to protect transgender voting rights, the gaps in the implementation of laws, and how the Election Commission of Pakistan could play a vital role in the provision of transgender persons-friendly polling stations to ensure their effective political participation in the upcoming elections.
Muhammed Farid Afridi, Joint, Provincial Election Commissioner, KP, said: “There is a dire need for issuing ‘X’ identity cards for all transgender persons to help the Election Commission ensure their effective participation in the upcoming elections”.
Asad Ali, an Awaaz II District Forum member said: “The government and civil society organizations should join hands for providing transgender persons voting rights and ensure their safe participation in the upcoming local government elections”.
Amanat Ali, another member of the forum, said: “The National Database and Registration Authority should launch a campaign to register all transgender persons in the district to help them benefit from government welfare schemes and voter registration”.
Jannat Mehmood, secretary, Aawaz II District Forum, said “The transgender community is among the most disadvantaged and disenfranchised when it comes to inheritance, employment and voter registration. It is a must for the CSOs and government departments to launch collaborative efforts to advocate for the rights of the transgender community at the provincial level.”
Publications pertaining to transgender persons rights (Protection of Rights) Act rules of business 2020) were distributed at the end of the session to enhance understanding of the audience on the available law.