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Home Politics Peshawar High Court Challenges Norms: Summons Election Commission Over Transgender Representation

Peshawar High Court Challenges Norms: Summons Election Commission Over Transgender Representation

The writ emphasizes the need for transgenders to have reserved seats, allowing them to participate in elections just like other minorities, men, and women.
by Rifaqatullah Razarwal - 04 Jan, 2024 1588
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In a groundbreaking move, the Peshawar High Court has issued a notice to the Election Commission regarding the allocation of reserved seats for transgenders in the Provincial Assembly.

The court has summoned the Election Commission for the next hearing scheduled on January 10. The writ emphasizes the need for transgenders to have reserved seats, allowing them to participate in elections just like other minorities, men, and women.

Batool Rifaqat, the lawyer representing the case, explained that despite the right to vote, her client, transgender Subia Khan, is not allocated a reserved seat, even after submitting nomination papers to participate in the upcoming February 8 general election as a man. Rifaqat argues that assembly seats should be designated for transgenders in recognition of their unique identity.

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While acknowledging the absence of reserved seats for transgenders in the constitution, Rifaqat emphasized that it is their right to contest elections and use their votes, citing the Transgender Act 2018. The case has been accepted for hearing by Justice Waqar Ahmed, who issued a notice to the Election Commission, directing its appearance in court on January 10.

Referring to the Transgender Protection Act, Rifaqat highlighted that transgenders, including her client, have the right to contest elections from specific seats. Sobia Khan, a BA pass and host at Tribal News Net, has had her nomination papers approved by the Election Commission for Provincial Assembly PK-81.

Sobia Khan expressed concerns about her seating arrangement if she wins the election and has sought clarification from the High Court. As the election date of February 8 approaches, Sobia Khan urged political parties to prioritize transgender rights, recognition, and protection, advocating for the implementation of relevant laws.

Dr. Nasrullah Khan from the Free and Fair Election Network acknowledged the legal process for transgender participation in elections but highlighted social attitudes as a barrier. He emphasized the constitutional right of all sections of society, including transgenders, to participate in Pakistan's affairs.

According to the Election Commission, details of 28,626 men and women have been released for reserved seats, but transgender candidates are not included in this count. The 2017 census indicates 10,418 registered eunuchs in Pakistan, with over 1,800 transgender individuals having registered to vote.