LAHORE: The transgender community in Lahore has decided to boycott elections as the option for a separate section for gender was unavailable in the nomination papers.
Transgender Neeli Rana told The Express News said that the community took the decision because the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) failed to include the section for them. “Since our different identity is not being accepted, hence there is no use of contesting the elections.”
Rana, who hails from Lahore, said that she had obtained nomination papers from NA-124, but she would not contest polls.
She shared that objections from her community were surfacing over the absence of separate space for them in the nomination forms. “We have not been included in the voters’ list. Therefore, we won’t contest polls.”
She said that three members of her community had obtained nomination papers for contesting the elections, but now they have decided to boycott. As many as 13 transgender people had announced that they would take part in the polls from various parts of the country, including Lahore.
Out of three, two had decided to contest elections for National Assembly seats, while the 11 would vie for provincial assembly berths.
It was initially decided that Farzana Riaz would fight from NA-33, Arzu Khan from PK-33, Lubna from PP-26, Komal from PP-38, Madam Bhutto from PP-189, Nayab from NA-142, while Nadeem Kashish and Ashi Butt had decided to contest for Punjab Assembly seats. However, several candidates have announced a boycott now.
Last week, the transgender community in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa voiced concerns over the absence of a separate gender section in nomination papers issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). TransAction Khyber Pakhtunkhwa President Farzana Riaz criticised the ECP for not including the separate section.
“Dozens of transgender people across the country are collecting nomination papers from the ECP, but the forms do not have a separate section and are being forced to choose between male or female,” she stated.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2018.