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Without identity cards, they cannot contest or vote in the upcoming elections. PHOTO: AFP
K-P’s transgenders protest delay in NICs issuance

in PAKISTAN, 30/04/2013

As election fever rises in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, tens of thousands of people are clamoring to get their voices heard, to get their candidates elected. However, a marginalised segment of society still remains on the outside, looking in. These are members of the transgender community who have not yet been issued national identity cards.

“It seems like we exist just to bring a little life into the political gatherings of different candidates. We cannot vote, nor can we contest elections, unlike [transgenders] in Punjab and Karachi,” says Farzana, president of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Shemale Association.

According to Farzana, more than 300 transgenders applied for CNICs in order to be able to participate in the polls, but not a single one has been issued a card as yet. Farzana herself is still waiting, despite having applied for a CNIC three months ago. Nisha, another member of this community, questioned the logic behind holding back the cards.

“We would also like to bring change in the country, like the rest of the nation, but how can we do it if we cannot vote?”  she asks. “We are fed up of visiting the NADRA office [in Hayatabad]. The officials tell us they have other work to do and tell us to come back some other day. I have been visiting the office for the past two months.”

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