A man who tried to set up the first gay club in Pakistan has been sent to a psychiatric hospital by local authorities, reports Britain’s The Telegraph. The man had applied to open the club in Abbottabad, a conservative city in northern Pakistan.

The man had submitted an application to the city after returning from the UK, arguing that the club would be “a great relief and help to many homosexual, bisexual and even some heterosexual people living in Abbottabad in particular and in other parts of the country.”

According to The Telegraph, the application states that there will be “no gay (or non-gay) sex (except kissing)” in the planned gay club, which is tentatively to be called the “Lorenzo Gay Club.” The Human Rights Council of Pakistan Khyber Pakhtunkhwa published the alleged application on X (formerly Twitter).

However, the man’s application was leaked to social media, sparking outrage among locals and politicians in the northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Naseer Khan Nazir, a leader of the far-right Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PATY), warned that there would be “very serious consequences” if permission for the club was granted, The Telegraph reports. Another MP from the party said that if permission was granted, he would pour petrol on the building and set it on fire.

In response to the plan and public outcry, the applicant was admitted to Sarhad Hospital for Mental Health in Peshawar on May 9, The Telegraph learned. Friends of the man expressed grave concerns for his safety and reported that they were denied visits to the hospital.

Before being admitted to a psychiatric hospital, the man expressed his confidence, according to the Daily Mail: “If the authorities refuse, I will go to court and I hope that the Pakistani court, like the Indian court, will rule in favor of the homosexuals.”

According to current law, homosexual acts are still illegal in Pakistan. They can be punished with at least two years or life imprisonment, and legally even the death penalty is possible.

In addition, Pakistani law does not provide any protections for homosexual citizens that prohibit discrimination in the public or private sector on the basis of sexual orientation. Furthermore, public displays of affection are generally frowned upon and sex before marriage is punishable.

According to the German Lesbian and Gay Association, homosexuality is currently prosecuted in 62 countries worldwide, and in 12 of these countries homosexual citizens face the death penalty.

Some states partially implement the death penalty, such as Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen. In addition to Pakistan, the death penalty is also legally possible in Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritius, Qatar, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates.

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