Islamic Republic of Pakistan bans acclaimed film on transgender issue

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While most film industries crave recognition at the Oscars, Pakistan has its priorities elsewhere, accordingly it has banned country of joythe film that was their official entry into the 2023 Oscars. On November 11, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an official statement stating that the acclaimed film contained “highly objectionable material” and noting: “Written complaints were received that the film contains highly objectionable material that does not conform to the social values ​​and moral standards of our society and is clearly repugnant to the standards of ‘decency and morality set out in Section 9 of the Motion Picture Ordinance, 1979’.

The film, which is scheduled to open in theaters on November 18, tells a story that revolves around a “patriarchal family” that yearns for a son to continue the family line. The youngest son of this family secretly joins an erotic dance theater and falls in love with a transgender person. Therefore, the Islamic nation considered the film to be anti-Islamic. Unfortunately, while the LGBTQ+ community has often expressed solidarity with Islam and Muslims, their benevolence has rarely been reciprocated. There were massive objections to the screening of the film in Pakistan. Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan’s Senate took to Twitter to declare: “Pakistan is an Islamic country, and no law, ideology or activity against it can be allowed.” [Islam].” Pakistan’s institutions operate according to Islamic guidelines and therefore the transgender community is not recognized.

Despite its claims to be a modern Islamic nation, Pakistan’s treatment of its transgender and gay citizens has been pre-medieval, to say the least. Some recent incidents: A 23-year-old transgender activist Alisha was shot seven times and succumbed to her wounds in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2016. Alisha was not spared even in hospital. The men at the hospital taunted the victim even outside the emergency room. And this happened inside the Lady Reading Hospital, one of the largest medical facilities in the province. Around the same time, at least five transgender people were attacked in the same way in the relatively conservative province of Khyber.

It is not necessary to approve of transsexualism to deplore its mistreatment in Pakistan. Gunmen harassed a group of transgender people by throwing eggs at them and then resorted to shooting them, killing one in 2017. Muni was similarly shot to death in 2018, and was one of four reported victims of hate crimes against transgender people. people that year. The body of one of the victims was mutilated and the perpetrator stuffed body parts into bags. One can only guess how many cases of violence of this kind went unreported. An activist group, TransAction Pakistan, claims that at least 1,133 incidents of violence against transgender people occurred between 2015 and 2017.

Although the Supreme Court of Pakistan granted them “third gender” status in 2012, this recognition has not gone beyond legal documents. The community is prevented from receiving an education and is left with little chance of employment. Therefore, dancing, begging, dancing and sex work become their main source of income.

Transgender people are routinely tormented and harassed on social media, but these cases are rarely reported to the police. A main reason for this is that most transgender people do not have families; therefore their abuse and even their murders mostly go unnoticed. Having a family wouldn’t have made much of a difference anyway, as the families of murder victims have often refused to accept and bury their bodies; such is the rejection and denial towards transgender members of Pakistani society. Rape and sexual harassment, blackmail, “honor” killings, assaults, and haircutting are common crimes against them even today.

Police ignore reports of violence by transgender people. “Threats, harassment, intimidation and bullying are part of our everyday lives and eventually escalate into hate crimes like the murder of transgender people. These incidents go unreported, nor are they taken seriously by our police if they are reported,” Ali shared with The Guardian.

country of joy it was one of the few things that was done right for trans people in Pakistan. It was the first Pakistani film to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival and garnered the Un Certain Regard Jury Award and the Queer Palm Award. It was also screened at the Busan International Film Festival and was praised at the Toronto International Film Festival. But the values ​​of the western world do not coincide with the beliefs that prevail in Pakistan. A work of art recognized and appreciated by the modern world can never be accepted by a nation that is still living in 1947, imagining a pure Islamic paradise.

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