Man ‘held in psychiatric hospital’ after trying to set up Pakistan’s first gay club

A man is reportedly being held in a psychiatric institution by local authorities after attempting to create Pakistan’s first gay club.

The individual, who has not been named, was reportedly detained and imprisoned in the psychiatric hospital after applying to create a business in Abbottabad.

An application filed to the deputy commissioner of the northern Pakistani city reportedly said the club would have been of “great convenience” for LGBTQ+ people in the area and “other parts of the country in general.”

The man said that the club, which he tentatively named the “Lorenzo gay club” would have strict rules about sex on the premises.

“A clearly visible notice on the wall would warn: no sex on the premises,” the application reads. “This would mean that no legal constraints would be flouted on the premises.”

LGBTQ+ activists protesting anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric in Pakistan. (Getty)

Homosexuality is currently illegal in Pakistan under the 1860 Penal Code, which criminalises acts of “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” and was introduced by the British during the colonial period.

After the application – which Abbottabad’s Deputy Commissioner has said is under review like any other proposal – leaked to social media, the individual was reportedly arrested and transferred to the Sarehad hospital for psychiatric review, where he has stayed since 9 May.

Speaking to The Age prior to his transfer to the psychiatric hospital in Peshawar, the individual said he wants “everyone’s human rights to be defended.”

“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 said.

“If the authorities refuse, then I will approach the court and I hope that like the Indian court, the Pakistani court will rule in favour of gay people.”

Homosexuality was decriminalised in India after a five-judge Constitutional Bench overturned a Supreme Court decision on the Johar v Union case in 2018, striking down the provisions of a similar Penal Code to Pakistan’s.

Various far-right groups, religious institutions, and anti-LGBTQ+ politicians have pushed conspiracy theories that the individual is working as a foreign agent on behalf of a western state because he had recently returned from a visit to the UK.

His friends say they are extremely concerned over his safety and have been blocked from visiting him or learning about his wellbeing.

“Everyone is afraid that talking about it will put them in danger,” one individual reportedly said, adding that they had “tried to find out about him a couple of times” to no avail.

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