Peshawar, Jun 13: Thirteen members of the transgender community will be contesting the July 25 elections on various seats across Pakistan, the All Pakistan Transgender Election Network (Apten) said today. It said two transgender leaders - Nayab Ali and Lubna Lal - will contest on Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Gulalai (PTI-G) tickets, while the remaining 11 candidates will run as independents, Dawn reported.
However, they said, at least two transgender people - one in Peshawar and another in Haripur - were unable to submit nomination papers because they were beaten up and harassed after their intentions to contest elections became public knowledge.
Apten, a rights group focusing on the invisibility of leaders from the transgender community, comprises TransAction KP, the Sindh Transgender Welfare Network, the Balochistan Alliance for Transgender and Intersex Community and the Punjab Transgender Foundation.
The group, led by TransAction KP President Farzana Jan, also demanded the removal of systemic barriers to entry of transgender people into politics, and for political parties to induct more members of the community into their ranks.
It said the network would form its own political party after the elections.
The group said that it was aiming for the party to be registered before local body elections. In 2009, Pakistan became one of the first countries in the world to legally recognise a third sex, allowing transgenders to obtain identity cards. They number at least half a million people in the country, according to several studies, but their representation in politics and many other spheres of life remains negligible.