Pakistan: Local clerics ban transgender persons' music, dance at wedding

The decision was made by a group of 26 clerics on Friday, who also ruled that clergy would not perform the nikah ritual at any marriages that included music and dance.
Protestors kiss while holding placards reading 'Shoot out queer hate' and 'Rights not greed' during a rally to raise awareness of the human rights situation of LGBTQ people in Qatar. (File Photo | AP)
Protestors kiss while holding placards reading 'Shoot out queer hate' and 'Rights not greed' during a rally to raise awareness of the human rights situation of LGBTQ people in Qatar. (File Photo | AP)

KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA [Pakistan]: In the Khyber province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, a group of tribal clerics has once again taken matters into their own hands by enforcing a ban on transgender people dancing and playing music during weddings, The Express Tribune reported.

The decision was made by a group of 26 clerics on Friday, who also ruled that clergy would not perform the nikah ritual at any marriages that included music and dance.

"If anyone refuses to obey this order or go against it, then the last rites of the entire family would not be performed by clerics," says a written letter signed by the clerics, as per The Express Tribune.

A local resident told The Express Tribune that the statement was made during a jirga that was also attended by local politicians and tribal elders in addition to clerics.

The letter also stated that such families would be boycotted by the community and that clergy would not attend their weddings.

Additionally, the group banned celebratory aerial firing during wedding festivities.

Hardline local clerics have already enforced bans on transgender people's music and dances. Similar priests attacked music events in Landi Kotal in September 2017, seizing televisions and musical equipment that they later set on fire.

An organisation called, the Hussaini Tehreek, also forbade women from going alone to bazaars and shopping malls in the Parachinar and Kurram districts in July 2021, as per The Express Tribune.

Due to the prominence of its leader, Maulana Abid Hussaini, a local cleric and former senator, the announcement of the ban was widely publicised on social media channels.

The entry of women or couples into picnic areas was outlawed in July 2022 by a jirga gathered in the very orthodox Salarzai area of the Bajaur province because it was deemed to be against local customs.

The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F)-run jirga, presided over by Maulana Abdur Rashid, JUI-F district amir for Bajaur, urged that the government back the ban by taking appropriate action.

The jirga also demanded that non-locals be rejected from employment in the district's numerous departments and that local citizens be hired instead.

Elders in Tehsil Mamond, Bajaur, forbade women from calling the nearby FM radio stations and attending the Citizen Facilitation Centre (CFC) in February 2021. The violators of the ban would face a fine of PKR 10,000, The Express Tribune reported. 

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