Islamabad, July 24: For the first time in Pakistan's political history, the Election Commission of Pakistan has given the duty of "observers" to the members of the transgender community.
The accreditation cards of the transgenders were issued by District Session Judge Lahore on Tuesday, which made the community members quite elated, Geo News reported.
The session judge has issued cards to 25 members of the community. Transgender Sonia Naz said that for the first time the members of the community have been made observers and they will perform this duty well.
Naz added that if anyone tried to rig the polls, they will expel the person "their characteristic way". Members of the transgender community are not only voting but also contesting in Wednesday's polls. Five transgender candidates will be in the fray.
At the onset of the election campaign, 13 transgender candidates filed their nomination papers for the contestable constituencies in both the national and provincial assemblies. But nine were forced to drop out, due to lack of funds. Unlike women and religious minorities, transgenders do not have any reserved seats in parliament or the provincial houses.
Former lawmaker Ayesha Gulalai, who formed her own faction of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf political party, has fielded two transgender candidates. The other three are standing as independents.
Interestingly, according to data provided by the ECP, only 1,913 transgender citizens were registered in Pakistan to vote even though a recent population census puts their headcount at over 10,000.