Politicians slam LGBTs ceremony


Politicians from the country’s mainstream political parties, religious scholars and social activists on Monday came down hard on US Deputy Ambassador Richard Hogland for hosting a ceremony for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) individuals, calling it a bid to tarnish the social values and violation of the laws of the land.
Homosexuality is illegal in Pakistan and can carry severe punishments.
Although homosexuality is not explicitly mentioned in Pakistan’s penal code, “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” is punishable by either a fine or imprisonment.
But under the Shariah law, which was introduced in 1990, homosexual acts can be punished with whipping, imprisonment and even death.
PML-Q Secretary Information Kamil Ali Agha said the US had gotten involved in such a campaign under a focused agenda to ensure the promotion and acceptability of such a culture among the Pakistani people.
PML-N leader Senator Pervaiz Rasheed cautioned foreigners against the promotion of a culture in Pakistani that was against the country’s traditions.
JUI-F leader Maulana Attaur Rehman called the event a blatant violation of the country’s constitution, saying the onus was now on the government to react to the violation of law and tell the Americans that the country’s law did not allow such acts.
Senator Prof Khurshid Ahmed of the Jamaat-e-Islami called the event part of a cultural terrorism by the US against the values and traditions of Islam, saying this was a bid to destroy and tarnish the cultural values of the people of Pakistan.
Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Muneebur Rehman condemned the US embassy’s ceremony and urged the government to look into the matter and make the embassy administration explain the purpose behind the event.
A statement released by the US embassy quoted Hoagland as saying, “I want to be clear: the US embassy is here to support you and stand by your side every step of the way.” “The ceremony was meant to support the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals in Pakistan,” the embassy said.
“This gathering demonstrated continued US embassy support for human rights, including LGBT rights, in Pakistan at a time when those rights are increasingly under attack from extremist elements throughout Pakistani society,” it said.
Meanwhile, protests were held in major cities to denounce the gay rights event. Around 100 demonstrators in Karachi called the meeting “an assault on Pakistan’s Islamic culture”, while there were similar demonstrations in Islamabad and Lahore as well.