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Pakistani Man Reportedly Sent to Psychiatric Facility after Seeking to Establish Gay Club

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 2 MIN.

Authorities in Pakistan have reportedly detained a man and sent him to a psychiatric facility for trying to establish a gay club. The man's friends say he has essentially been disappeared.

Business Insider reported that according to UK newspaper The Telegraph, "the man, who chose to remain anonymous, filed an application to set up an LGBTQ+ club in Abbottabad, a military town in northern Pakistan known for being the site of Osama bin Laden's secret compound. Bin Laden was killed there in 2011."

The man's application was leaked online, sparking condemnation from hard-right politicians who attacked him for having made the proposal of opening a gay club – even though the application specified that no sexual activity would be allowed on the premises.

"A clearly visible notice on the wall would warn: no sex on premises," The Telegraph quoted the man's application. "This would mean that no legal constraints (even obsolete ones like [anti-sodomy] PPC section 377) would be flouted on the premises."

"According to The Telegraph, the man wrote in the application filed to the city's deputy commissioner that the club would be a 'great convenience and resource for many homosexual, bisexual, and even some heterosexual people residing in Abbottabad in particular,'" Business Insider detailed.

All the same, the attacks on the man were vitriolic and laced with violent rhetoric.

"One local MP from the far-Right Pakistan Awami Tehreek party said he would've doused the club with petrol and set it alight, while the leader of the party, Naseer Khan Nazir, said there would be 'very severe consequences' if the club was allowed to go up," relayed UK newspaper the Daily Mail.

The man's friends – also not named in news articles – "were terrified for his wellbeing, and had been blocked from visiting him or accessing any information about him," the Mail added, before quoting one friend saying, "I do not know about his well-being for many days" and fretting that they had "tried to find out about him a couple of times but without success..."

Prior to being detained, the man had told the Telegraph, "I talk about human rights and I want everyone's human rights to be defended," the Mail noted.

Added the man: "I have started the struggle for the rights of the most neglected community in Pakistan and I will raise my voice in every forum."

He added, "If the authorities refuse, then I will approach the court and I hope that like the Indian court, the Pakistani court will rule in favor of gay people."

Business Insider recalled that gay sex is severely punished in Pakistan, with sentences "ranging from two years up to a life sentence."

"Though prosecutions are rare, the UK's Home Office notes that members of the LGBTQ+ communities in Pakistan may hide their sexuality over fears of abuse, discrimination, and honor killings," the news outlet said.

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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