For the first time in the country, we have witnessed the transgender community being granted the space to run for an office. The last five years of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) government have taken huge leaps in granting transgenders their basic rights. However, as eager as we are to take these steps they are not based on prior research to ensure that these measures when materialised are fruitful. A case in point is the nomination papers, which do not recognise the third gender as yet. These minor glitches create problems for the otherwise well-meaning strategies adopted by the previous government.

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) was alerted by the agitated trans community but the court is yet to give a verdict in this regard. At the same time, the body inherently in charge of the nomination papers is the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and it has responded after a protest was staged outside their office in Karachi. They have granted them the space to write “C” as a representation of their gender. This again is a quick fix to a problem plaguing all official documents in the country.

At least 13 transgender persons will contest the elections this year and this itself is a huge test for the people of this country, who otherwise take a moral high ground but treat this community as sub-human. Recently PTI-Gulalai also came under attack for supposedly allotting tickets to “fake” transgenders - a stance so conveniently taken by influencers without realising how demeaning the conjecture was. Not only do people need to be held accountable but institutions also need to safeguard the interests of this community which was marginalized for a good 70 years of Pakistan’s existence.