Gay pirs on the run

Ghulam Dastagir May 11, 2010

FAISALABAD: In Kamalia, two men who had tied the knot in 2002 were robbing people in the vicinity under the guise of being pirs.

On November 15, 2002, Rehman Shehzad (46), a resident of Railway road’s mohallah Char Chand, number 270 married ‘Nilofer’ (also known as Agha Raza Ali and Syed Ali Nasir) who was 27-years old at the time. Nilofer belonged to Faisalabad’s Thekri Wala area. According to an acquaintance of the couple, Shehzad knew that he was marrying a man when the marriage took place and Nilofer had three separate identity cards (CNIC numbers) that he used for separate purposes.

The couple eventually settled in the Kamalia Railway Road area, where they were acting as pirs. The local community was soon taken in by the couple’s claims about being able to ‘solve all their problems’ and Nilofer claimed that he frequently saw visions and was a ‘buzurg’ (wise woman) who could divine the future for all that came close to him. Both men told people that they were bound in relations as husband and wife. “The two men had illicit relations and claimed to be married as Nilofer had three different CNIC numbers, and a marriage certificate under one of his identities,” Syed Amjad, a man who claimed to have been ripped off by the couple three years ago said.

Amjad said that the couple had asked him to give the couple Rs 4.1m in exchange for a speedy visa and immigration to the UK. “Lots of people came to them for visa’s or recanting their problems and they charged them for ‘solutions’ to the people’s individual problems,” he said. Amjad said that scores of mureed’s visited the couple at their home, which had practically become a shrine because most people brought the pirs gifts and were faithful devotees.

On April 25, 2010, the chief caretaker of the shrine, Khalid registered an FIR against the couple for swindling him out of Rs 200,000 in a visa scam. Khalid admitted that he had been working with the pirs for over three years and had asked them for assistance regarding his immigration to the UK in search of employment. “They knew that it would be harder to swindle me and remain here as I practically live in their dera (shrine) so they left the area,” he said. Khalid said that he had known for some time that Nilofer was really a man.

He said he had also known about Nilofer’s other identities but had kept their secret because he genuinely believed that they were ‘Pahuncha hua’ (mystics, with transcendental powers). Several fraud cases have been registered against the two men in the Sandal Bar police station and Sahiwal police station. Khalid has said that he will cooperate with the authorities to locate the two men who fled the area two weeks ago.

“They only took a few of their belongings with them because they didn’t want to raise suspicions,” he said. Police has also discovered Nilofer’s three identity cards and is assuming that the couple will now attempt to acquire different identities. Police officials have said that they will be monitoring NADRA registrations in the district for any matches to the two men.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 12th, 2010.