PESHAWAR: Appreciating the resolution passed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly to seek the transgender persons’ suffrage, the civil society organisations and TransAction Alliance have decided to field joints candidates in the 2018 general elections at least on five major National Assembly seats.

This was disclosed by Blue Veins programme coordinator Qamar Naseem during a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club on Friday.

He was accompanied by PML-N MPA Amna Sardar, TransAction Alliance president Farzana Jan and Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network coordinator Taimur Kamal.

MPA Amna Sardar said she had tabled a resolution in the assembly on the enfranchisement of transgender persons and got it adopted after hectic efforts.

She said the federal government should be pursued to contact the Election Commission of Pakistan for giving the members of transgender community the right to vote.

The lawmaker said transgender persons should be given a respectable status in society.

“The transgender persons’ suffrage was her strong desire since he become MPA and that she persuaded other lawmakers, especially own party’s, to support her resolution on it,” she said.

Ms Amna however said the passing of resolution was not enough and that the house should legislate to ensure provision and protection of the ‘deprived’ community’s rights.

She also sought the media’s support for the cause.

The MPA said the Election Commission of Pakistan should ensure the registration of transgender persons as voters to help them become useful members of society.

She said she was hopeful that the ECP would use all its resources to facilitate the registration of more and more transgender persons for electoral rolls before the 2018 general elections.

Qamar Naseem, who is also a member of the chief minister’s special committee on the rights of transgender persons, and Farzana Jan said the KP Assembly deserved praise for supporting the transgender persons’ rights, especially political ones.

Mr. Naseem said transgender persons of KP would actively participate in the 2018 general elections by casting vote and filing candidatures in at least five National Assembly constituencies.

He said the population census would clearly show the exact number of transgender persons in the country.

The Blue Veins programme coordinator said according to the rough estimates, KP had around 45,000 transgender persons.

He said most transgender persons didn’t have any document to ensure their registration in electoral lists as they’re disowned by families and had nothing to prove their identity.

Farzana Jan complained empowerment of transgender persons was a distant dream due to the disinterest of politicians by and large.

She said the Supreme Court had given her community the right to secure the Computerised National Identity Cards and jobs in government departments though the successive governments denied them due rights.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2016

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