ISLAMABAD: For the first time, at least 13 transgender persons will contest the general elections in Pakistan this year with two of them contesting for the National Assembly, a media report said.
Transgenders were included for the first time in the census, published in August.
The survey identified only 10,418 transgender people out of a population of nearly 208 million in Pakistan.
The importance of the participation of the trangenders was discussed yesterday at a national consultation where their political inclusion and empowerment for social progress was highlighted, the Express Tribune reported.
The consultation was organised by All Pakistan Transgender Election Network (APTEN) in collaboration with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The meeting was attended by all the potential candidates and representatives from their assigned constituencies, it said.
Of the 13 transgender candidates, two will contest for National Assembly and the rest for provincial assembly seats, the report said.
Pakistan's election commission on Monday proposed July 25-27 as possible dates for holding the general elections in the country.
The Election Act 2017 under Article 48 A and B transgender community are included in the vulnerable community which means that they shall not be required to stand in queue and will be given priority of right to vote, Qamar Naseem, member of the Chief Minister's Special Community on Rights of the Transgender Persons (K-P) and member of the National Task Force said.
"The polling station staff will ensure that they will cast their votes as soon as they will reach the polling station," he said.
Naseem further said that last time four transgender persons contested general election but they could not do it in proper order.
However, this year the community has constituted APTEN which will provide them (transgender) a platform from where they will contest election in an organised manner, the report said.
"It is about time that the transgender community of Pakistan has rightful representation," Naseem said, adding that the announcement of candidacy and contestation in elections by transgender persons is historic given the staggering rates of violence and discrimination faced by trans-people throughout the country.
Additional Director General (Gender Affairs) Nighat Siddique said, "In the upcoming electoral process, the ECP will ensure a friendly and inclusive system for the transgender community not only as voters but also as candidates."
It is a great achievement that transgender persons have been included in the upcoming elections and the commission will formulate a viable strategy to facilitate transgender community in the electoral process as voters and candidates, she added.