08042015Wed

Last updateTue, 07 Apr 2015 11pm

Pakistan bans first gay community website

Pakistan's government has blocked the country's first gay community website www.queerpk.com.

Queerpk.com was launched with the slogan "Know us, don't hate us" and aimed to raise awareness of gay issues and offer advice and sex education to gay, lesbian and transgender people in Pakistan.

"Our website does not contain any explicit or offensive content so the PTA decision to close down the website without any notice is unconstitutional and opposes freedom of speech," Queerpk.com's founder told the BBC Urdu service. 

"Mostly, us homosexuals use this website to bring forward health-related issues as sex education is a taboo in this country.

"That is the reason why we carefully chose our language so as there is no reason for the government to ban this."

He added that Queerpk.com's staff did not want to pursue legal action against the government for violating freedom of speech because it would expose them to harm. 

For now, the site has been mirrored onto a new domain name to allow access for web users outside Pakistan.

The country is one of the least tolerant countries in the world for gays. 

According to IRIN, a U.N. humanitarian news and analysis service, "under section 377 of the PCC (Pakistan Penal Code), 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] 10 years, and shall also be liable to a fine."

Pakistan is also one of just several countries in the world that still reserve the death penalty for homosexuals, according to the International Lesbian and Gay Association, or ILGA.

In Asia, only Indonesia -- the world's most populous Muslim country -- scored higher with 93% disapproval of gay men and women. 

Spain and Germany were found to be the world's most- and second-most tolerant countries respectively.

The website can still be accesses outside Pakistan at www.queerpk.com

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