ISLAMABAD: Addressing concerns of the transgender community over lack of a separate gender section in nomination forms, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday asked transgender persons, who intend to contest coming general elections, to write the letter “C” in their nomination papers to show their gender.
The transgender community will not be left out of the electoral process, the commission said in a statement.
It said transgender persons aspiring to run in the 2018 elections should write the letter ‘C’ in nomination forms to show their gender, adding that returning officers have also been issued directives in this regard.
Besides, the ECP said the gender of transgender persons can also be ascertained with help of their identity cards.
The transgender community has time and again voiced concern over the absence of a separate gender column in the nomination forms issued by the ECP, saying the omission on its part is aimed to deprive them of their right to take part in elections.
Following passage of transgenders’ rights’ bill from the Parliament, transgender persons will now be able to exercise their rights without any fear of marginalization.
At least 13 transgender persons will contest general elections this year. Of the 13 contestants, two will run for the National Assembly while the rest will contest for provincial assembly seats.
The announcement was made at a national consultation organised by All Pakistan Transgender Election Network (APTEN) in collaboration with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The names of the aspiring lawmakers were also shared during the meeting. They include Arzu Khan (PK-33), Lubna (PP-26), Komal (PP-38), Madam Bhutto (PP-189), Nayab (NA-142), Ashee (Candidate from Punjab) , Farzana Riaz (NA-33) and others.
The objective of consultation was to bring all the candidates and other stakeholders at discussion table where they could share their concerns and way forward. The major concern of the candidates was regarding their identity documents such as CNIC among others. They shared a problem related to their CNICs in which they are mentioned as male in gender section but by appearance they look like women.
The national consultation was attended by all the potential candidates and representatives from their assigned constituencies where they highlighted their demands and importance of political inclusion and empowerment of transgender persons in Pakistan.
Additional Director General (Gender Affairs) Nighat Siddique said, “In the upcoming electoral process ECP will ensure a friendly and inclusive system for the transgender community not only as voters but also as candidates.”