Transgender candidates are running for parliament in Pakistan

Acid attack survivor Nayyab Ali is one of four transgender candidates standing in the general election.

transgender rights

Nayyab Ali was physically and sexually abused by relatives and then later attacked with acid by her former boyfriend for being a transgender woman. Now she is running for parliament with three other transgender candidates.

“I realised that without political power and without being part of the country’s institutions, you cannot gain your rights,” Nayyab Ali told the BBC.

In May, Pakistan passed new legislation guaranteeing basic rights for its transgender citizens, estimated to be 50,000 in the country. It also banned all discrimination against them. The country also recognises a third sex on both its national ID cards and passports, an option rarely provided in Western nations.

Nadeem Kashish, a transgender rights activist who hosts her own radio programme on the issues facing her community, is standing against the two frontrunners in the race to become Pakistan’s next prime minister.

She says that despite the recent legislation, “no political party in Pakistan wants to work on transgender rights, we are not in their agenda. This is the reason I want to run for parliament.”

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