Homosexuals in the line of fire
* Group of clerics launches campaign against homosexuality in country
* Demand two groups of gay, lesbian rights end their activities
By Hussain Kashif
LAHORE: A group of clerics has launched a campaign against physical relationship between people of the same sex (homosexuality), demanding an end to activities of GLIFAA and GLSEN – US-based organisations working for the rights of gays and lesbians – in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.
The Muslim Youth Front (MYF), an unregistered outfit headed by Shahid Khan who calls himself ameer of the group, has kicked off its campaign against homosexuality in Lahore. It had even installed some banners against homosexuality at Faisal Chowk, outside the Punjab Assembly building on The Mall.
The group, through its banners, warned the GLIFAA (Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies) and GLSEN (Lesbian and Straight Education Network) against its activities.
The American groups are working for the rights of gays and lesbians across the world in collaboration with some non-governmental organisations and social networks as well as US embassies in different countries, including Pakistan.
Earlier, GLIFAA had arranged a ceremony at the US Embassy in Islamabad on June 26, 2011, in which around 75 [homosexual] members participated. US Embassy Charge d’Affaires Ambassador Richard Hoagland hosted the ceremony.
Some GLIFAA members also attended the ceremony besides US mission officers and military representatives, foreign diplomats and some LGBT advocacy group members from Pakistan. At that time, the same group members, in collaboration with some right- wing political parties, including Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamaatud Dawa, protested against the US Embassy ceremony.
Talking to Daily Times, Shahid Khan said the Muslim Youth Front had already asked the US groups and their (overseas) representatives in Islamabad – Erin Krasik and Aaron Schubert – to immediately leave Pakistan as their activities were damaging Islamic values.
He said that both GLIFAA and GLSEN were active in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad and spending $500 a person (in Pakistan) to make these “selected” people more active member of the organisations. He also mentioned that these organisations were not expanding their network in Peshawar due to the poor law and order situation there.
Shahid Khan said that the US organisations were using a private university as their hub for all activities. He claimed that GLIFAA and GLSEN started their underground activities in Pakistan in 2007, but appeared publicly in 2011. He said the members associated with these American groups now had weekly meetings in the three major cities.
To a question, he said the MYF had a vast network as “hundreds of thousands” of members of Tablighi Jamaat were part of it, adding that he was also an active member of the Raiwind-based preaching group.
Shahid Khan, who did Masters in Financial Risk Management, said he had a chain of guesthouses in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
“We are planning to chalk out a strategy against homosexuality,” he said, adding that the MYF would first launch an awareness campaign followed by protest demonstrations in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. The demonstrations will particularly be held outside the US Embassy and the Parliament House. To a question, he said the MYF would start delivering lectures from seminaries because “these institutions are the real safeguards of the Islamic ideology”.