Thirteen transgender people will contest the upcoming elections in Pakistan on July 25, All Pakistan Transgender Election Network (Apten) announced at a press conference in Peshawar on Wednesday, June 13, the Dawn reported.
The rights group which works on leaders from the transgender community, comprises regional bodies like the TransAction KP, the Sindh Transgender Welfare Network, the Balochistan Alliance for Transgender and Intersex Community and the Punjab Transgender Foundation.
According to the report, Apten, led by Farzana Jan, the president of TransAction KP, presented a charter of demands seeking removal of systematic barriers for transgender people from entering politics and for the parties to invite more members from the community into their ranks and positions.
The group appealed to the parties to stop confining themselves to gender binaries and sought security and an end to the thought that typecasts the community besides presenting other demands, the report added.
Two of the 13 transgender candidates - Nayab Ali and Lubna Lal - will contest the election on the tickets of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Gulalai (PTI-G), said the Dawn report. PTI-G was launched early this year by dissident PTI leader MNA Ayesha Gulalai to serve what she referred to as the downtrodden people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The other 11 transgender candidates will contest as independents.
Apten also said that at least transgender persons - in Peshawar and Haripur - could not submit nominations for the election as they were beaten up and harassed for expressing interest in contesting the polls.
The group also said that it would form its own political party after the elections get over and was aiming to get it registered before the local elections.
Pakistan gave legal recognition to allow the third sex to get identity cards in 2009 but despite their substantial numbers in the country, the transgenders' representation in politics and other spheres of public life has remained restricted.
Saudi Arabia has long sought to raise prices to fund economic and social reforms at home, the main goal being to eventually reduce the kingdom's reliance on oil-related income, the Dawn report added.