Pakistani police bust man-eunuch wedding, 42 people arrested

May 25th, 2010 - 6:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Peshawar, May 25 (DPA) Police arrested a man for marrying a eunuch in northwestern Pakistan, officials said Tuesday.
Malik Iqbal, in his late 40s, his 18-year-old partner Kashif, also known as Rani, and 40 wedding guests were detained Monday in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

“Following complaints from locals we raided the place and found that the wedding party was in full swing,” police officer Shahid Khan told DPA.

“They were dancing, dinner was ready to be served, and a special wedding bed was prepared for the couple. We also recovered some pictures of the couple.”

Among the arrested were 15 eunuchs and 35 male friends and family members of Iqbal, who according to police is already married to a woman and has children.

Under Pakistani law gay marriage or a man’s marriage to a eunuch is a criminal offence and carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.

“We have charged the couple with adultery and 40 participants with collaboration in the offence,” Khan said.

Marrying a eunuch is a very rare event in the socially conservative Pashtun society that has given birth to the Taliban movement. Khyber-Pakhtukhwa is currently ruled by the secular and liberal Awami National Party.

Iqbal, who runs a fertilizer business and owns a commercial plaza in Peshawar, paid 80,000 rupees (about $950) to Rani’s guru for the marriage.

Eunuchs, known in Pakistan as “hijras”, are generally shunned by society and forced to live in slums in small communities led by senior members called gurus.

Most hijras are homosexual transvestites, many of whom were castrated at an early age.

A Pakistani court in December ordered the government to accept hijras’ identity as a distinct gender to ensure their rights, in a verdict that has been hailed by activists as a landmark development.

Some 30,000 eunuchs were previously denied national identity cards since the applicant was allowed to pronounce their gender only as male or female.

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