All discourse in Pakistan is a “discourse of exclusion”, where minorities, perverts, insane,women,Dalits and “others” have no voice at all. Amongst them Dalits and Gays are unique because they “dont exist” in public discourse. They have been robbed of their very existence.
No one dares to speak on gender and sexual boundaries erected by Male chauvinism and its product the Islamic Militarism. Pakistani state is obsessed with “machismo”, the military junta that have ruled Pakistan have “virilized” the society as a whole on sharp chauvinistic lines.
The squares and streets have been decorated with the models of Missals , named after macho all male invaders of India like “Ghori”, the phallic obsession continues when colonial militarism transforms into “Islamic militarism”, here we see the “cult of Muhammed bin Qasim”. the 17 years old 1st moslem invader of India. The whole story of his invasion has strong gender implication. He is shown to invade India to “save the honour” of a “woman”. He is a young macho male with lot of wives, through Qasim a “stereotype” of “Mujahid” is constructed, Male, Virile, ruthless , straight and polygamous.
Jamat e Islami , the prime fascist party of Pakistan has been on forefront of building “the cult of Muhammed bin Qasim”, its head quarter is named “Mansoora” after the first city built by Qasim and Sindh is referred to as “Dar us salam” the “gateway of Islam”.essentially equating Islam with Militarism , invasion and forced conversion.
This “rigid” role model is one of the causes of gender and sexual inequalities in Pakistan. A “queer” , “fag” or “gandu” is the ultimate “anti thesis” of the “Male Mujahid” stereotype which governs Pakistan. Its perceived as “ultimate” insult to “masculinity” , which is “base” of Fascism and Militarism.
In such a situation , i am publishing an article written by a Pakistani homosexual, which was published in an “underground” Pakistani Gay Magzine “Humjinsparast”, which is urdu translation of “Homosexual”.
The article is very inspiring because it speaks of hope and struggle, i recall few lines of Faiz after reading this article. The lines which speak of hope. of a day when tyranny will end, and liberty will rule Pakistan
Ye gham jo iss raat ne diya he
Ye gham Saher ka Yaqeen buna he
Yaqeen jo gham se Kareem tur he
Saher jo Shub se azeem tur he—-
Its been almost ten years when I first realized that I am gay, it was early nineties, since then lots been gone through, although still few but in those days many people had difficulties to understand the difference between gay and transsexuals. I was just considering being a part of Pakistani society where we were ten years ago and how much change came in last ten years.
In 1994 this was happened:
“15-Sep-94: A gay man from Pakistan who lives with his American lover and works at a fast-food restaurant in Kansas City was granted asylum in the U.S. Aug. 31 because of Pakistan’s persecution of homosexuals. “I would be a dead man” if I were deported, the 27-year-old man, “Ali,” told Judge. Pakistani civil law punishes those who have gay sex with two years to life in prison, while Islamic law, which also can be enforced legally, calls for up to 100 lashes or death by stoning. According to the Washington Blade, in 1990, Ali was in a private home with three straight friends when police broke in saying they had been told the men were having sex. The four were taken to the police station and beaten. When Ali’s father came to pick him up, he told the police that if it were true his son were gay, he would kill him. A few months later, Ali was expelled from the Pakistani Cricket Association for being gay, and shortly thereafter, he received a letter from the local Lahore Cricket Association dismissing him from the team for being a “faggot.” That letter was presented as evidence in the U.S. immigration hearing.”
This is 2003, so how much situation changed now? Do I have to answer this question? I don’t think so. We all know the answer.
The above news item talks about two laws, which are enforced in Pakistan, civic law and Islamic law, first of all this is most unfortunate for Jinnah’s Pakistan that we have something which is called as Islamic law. Let’s see what is the Civil Law says for homosexuality, we could also refer this as Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). Section 377 of PPC stated following regarding criminal act of involving in gay sex.
‘Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than two years nor more than ten years, and shall also be liable to a fine.’
Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section.
I am definitely not a lawyer or law student, but the wording I could see clearly talks about intercourse. So considering the law wordings if I love a same sex person, hold his hand, kiss him, I don’t think I am doing any criminal act or do I? Its very clear to me that Pakistani Civil Law allows me to have relationship with man and until I have some sex with penetration, I am not doing any crime, but in Pakistani society am I allowed having relationship and loving a person of same sex? Do I have to answer this question? I don’t think so. We all know the answer.
Now move on to Islamic law, which was re-introduced in 1991 by our beloved Priminister Mian Saheb , that was a time when someone should had asked him what he was thinking to enforce Islamic Laws? The only person who could have asked him anything is Chief of Army Staff and he did that after eight years. The Islamic Law on homosexuality which could be enforce anytime will prevail over civil law calls for up to 100 lashes or death by stoning.
We haven’t heard anyone yet stoned till death by using this law but in Pakistan’s tribal area lashes punishment is very common. Now as N.W.F.P assembly passed the “Shariat Bill” with heavy majority, we could expect some of it as death by stoning and killing by fall of a heavy wall was common at the time of Taliban rule in Afghanistan and by passing the Shariat bill the province also heading for Talibanisation. In the beginning I talked about the comparison of ten years earlier situation from now, one thing I noticed that if this bill was presented ten years ago then there were politicians and other civilian who had the guts to stand against this rigid extremism, but now everyone is so quiet about it as nothing happened. Rightfully said by Human Rights Commission’s Mr Kiyani “No body from N.W.F.P protested because people of that province are so innocent that they don’t know what’s coming towards them on the name of Islam”.
So its very clear that Pakistani society is now on the path of extremism as rigid Islamic parties are gradually progressing forward to take the charge of the country and turn it totally against the dream of Quaid-e-Azam. Just to give you an idea what these parties think about homosexuality I am pasting here the text written on the website of Jamat-e-Islami.
“In the present time, we are witnessing the wrath of God on these homosexuals in the form of AIDS, which is affecting innocents also.”
How misinform people from Jamat are or they are using AIDS as propaganda against the homosexuality. Well its not only Jamat most of the straight people believe that homosexuals are responsible for AIDS. The World Health Organization reports that heterosexual contact is responsible for over 70% of all AIDS/HIV cases worldwide. According to CDC statistics (July, 1997) heterosexual sex is the fastest growing mode of transmission for HIV in the United States – growing at a rate of 15 to 20 percent a year, compared to 5 percent for intravenous drug users and 5 percent for male homosexuals. However, considering the current scenario it’s not wise to criticize Islamic parties of Pakistan cause it’s their duty to work against liberation. It’s their duty to present Islam as religion of homophobia and taboos. In the country where Shariat Law is a symbol of destroying slogans and hoardings then I don’t think any thing is going to change in next ten years. But again why I am criticizing Pakistani society and Islamic parties, recently remarks made by Republican senator Rick Santorum of US Congress are worst then any remarks made by Pakistan’s Islamic parties. Commenting on a Supreme Court hearing on Sodomy law in the state of Texas he said following in an interview:
“If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything, man have a right to have sex with dog”.
I don’t believe that he is equating gay sex with incest and bestiality. Also to my surprise no condemnation done by the US Congress and fellow senators on Santorum’s totally inappropriate remarks. Few months back very senior senator Lott had to resign on his very improper remarks about racism but in senator Santorum’s case many other fellow Republican senators are supporting his comments. If things are like this in free world like USA then why complain about our society, but in free world there are many people who have the courage to stand against the hardliner like Sentorum.
It’s very unfortunate that we are desperately short of the people who always stand for human rights and humanity. We which includes you and me and every one else in this country, never tried to fight our battle, because for each of us its not “Our” battle, it is always either my battle or your battle. I, you and we are approaching to the silent death of our rights.
Dedicated to “Hope” as every night has a dawn to follow.
You can reach author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks : Humjisparast , the Pakistani Gay Magzine