Pakistan among least tolerant of homosexuality globally: Survey

Published: June 14, 2013
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People who say homosexuality should be accepted in society. PHOTO: PEWGLOBAL.ORG

People who say homosexuality should be accepted in society. PHOTO: PEWGLOBAL.ORG

A new survey by the Pew Research Center has found that Pakistan is among the least tolerant countries out of 39 surveyed, when it comes to homosexuality.

The global survey found that “there is broad acceptance of homosexuality in North America, the European Union, and much of Latin America. However, rejection of homosexuality is equally widespread in predominantly Muslim nations and in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and in Russia.”

The countries that viewed homosexuality most positively were:

Spain (88% say it should be accepted by society)

Germany (87%)

Czech Republic (80%)

Canada (80%)

Australia (79%)

France (77%)

Britain (76%)

Argentina (74%)

Italy (74%)

Philippines (73%)

The countries that viewed homosexuality least positively were:

Nigeria (1% say it should be accepted by society)

Pakistan (2%)

Tunisia (2%)

Ghana (3%)

Senegal (3%)

Egypt (3%)

Jordan (3%)

Indonesia (3%)

Uganda (4%)

Palestinian territories (4%)

Homosexuality has widespread rejection in predominantly Muslim nations and in Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and in Russia, the survey found.

In another key finding, the PEW Survey found that attitudes about homosexuality have been “fairly stable in recent years, except in South Korea, the United States and Canada, where the percentage saying homosexuality should be accepted by society has grown by at least ten percentage points since 2007.”

The richest countries in the world were found to have more positive views on homosexuality, while poorer countries with high levels of religiosity found it least acceptable. Additionally, younger respondents were found to be offering more tolerant views than older ones. Women were consistently more accepting of homosexuality than men.

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Reader Comments (81)

  • Zafar Masood
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:06AM

    Gays and lesbians face horrific discrimination in Pakistan especially from the more religious people in our society.Gays are treated as second class citizens by the public.Maulvis and ulema use the most hatefilled and vile language against gays,yet the more ‘moderate’ muslims in pakistan keep quiet over the mistreatment meted out to gays by Pakistani society.It’s time the moderate Muslims stood up for gay rights in Pakistan.Recommend

  • JD
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:13AM

    First of all, Nigeria is the least tolerant at 1% … not Pakistan (2%).

    But yes, it is among the least tolerant countries and boy am I proud of it. Well done!

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:13AM

    They missed KPK in their survey.

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  • RizwanKhan
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:13AM

    I strongly detest homesexuality but this news is insanely untrue (even though I wish it was true). Even US is more untolerent of it than Pakistan. Since childhood, I witnessed Pakistanis more normal towards homosexuals than US.
    Having said all this, why is this even a news? Is ET trying to promote homosexuality?

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  • doom
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:14AM

    The only surprise is Russia. Why are they so far behind other developed countries. China too is rather low. What’s with the homophobic atheists.

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  • RB Mian
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:16AM

    Visit the KPK and rural areas of South Punjab you will notice that Homosexuality is very common.

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  • Zak
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:18AM

    Pakistan least tolerant but Peshawar most tolerant

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  • Beenish Siddiqui
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:21AM

    Gay people in Pakistan are treated horribly.They face abuse,stigma and insults from everyone.Most of the hate is religion driven.It’s high time the govt. took steps to punish homophobic atrocities in Pakistan.Such vitriol,such bigotry towards a sexual minority is most sickening.Recommend

  • ashar
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:26AM

    Why should Pakistan be tolerant? it is against human nature.

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  • Shazia
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:27AM

    Sadly,our people take great pride in expressing their hate towards gays.There is no remorse or shame amongst our people when we advocate discrimination towards gays in Pakistan.Infact,homophobia is worn like a badge of honour.We think it makes us more pious,more religious if we’re hateful towards gays.Recommend

  • Ali Hamza
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:39AM

    oh yeah..? visit KPK then

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  • ayesha
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:48AM

    I am glad it is. may GOD save this country from all such evils. aameen.

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  • Mj
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:49AM

    @ashar:
    “Why should Pakistan be tolerant? it is against human nature.”

    How is it against human nature? Please explain. And when did you decide to become attracted to the opposite sex, instead of your own?

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  • Ishtiaq
    Jun 14, 2013 - 12:07PM

    One may detest it but it is fact that homosexuality is rife in Pakistan, specially in the KPK and tribal areas. Lets be honest, for a change.

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  • just_someone
    Jun 14, 2013 - 12:09PM

    I would love to know if they asked separate questions about acceptance of gays vs. lesbians.

    I suspect Pakistan is the least tolerant towards the former but most tolerant towards the latter!

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  • Rehan
    Jun 14, 2013 - 12:13PM

    As a gay man I’ve come across many, many so-called “straight” married Pakistani men here in the west and even in Pakistan. These “straight” men, who are everywhere and in very large numbers too (they’re just hiding in the closet), are the most homophobic. I’ve seen that actual straight married men and women are generally tolerant of lesbian and gay men and women.
    Also, to everyone discriminating against gay and lesbian men and women, know that at least a quarter of the population is at least bisexual. Therefore, you definitely already know someone very close to you who is gay or lesbian – just not out about it.
    Finally, this is not “against nature”. In the animal kingdom, nearly all species have been shown to exhibit homosexuality.
    So, there. Live and let live people. Get over your biases. And please, if you are in the closet, either come out or don’t discriminate against your fellow LGBT people.
    Regards,
    Rehan

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  • TA
    Jun 14, 2013 - 12:13PM

    Not sure if 60 per cent in United States accept gays. US is more conservative than many of us think.

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  • Afzaal Khan
    Jun 14, 2013 - 12:26PM

    Best news wish was 0%, anyway made my day. Don’t like it leave

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  • Patriot
    Jun 14, 2013 - 12:27PM

    Being a Muslim and Pakistani, It is something then which really makes me proud!!!

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  • Moiz Omar
    Jun 14, 2013 - 12:38PM

    Unfortunate, but expected of Pakistan to be one of the most hateful countries.

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  • Atif
    Jun 14, 2013 - 12:48PM

    May God protect Our families and nation from homosexuality and other evils. Ameen

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  • Prof. Shahid Mobeen
    Jun 14, 2013 - 1:52PM

    homosexuality is very common in Pakistan and secretly accepted all over the Nation. Problem is with its social visibility which brings “dishonour” and victimizes the subject. Strange that in this report India, Central Africa and most of the Arab countries are left out.

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  • Shariq
    Jun 14, 2013 - 2:02PM

    Well, Pakistan should be.
    Pakistan is a muslim country and behaviour like this against Islam.
    Please dont argue that there is nothing muslim about Pakistan anymore because this is how things get out of hand. We always refer to something that is unslamic and then the chain reaction continues.

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  • Rex Minor
    Jun 14, 2013 - 2:08PM

    The report is a false piec of document!

    . Malaysia excercises capital punishmnt for sodomy!

    . There is not a single country in the believers world which looks positvely towards homo sexuality, though the TOLERENCE level is varied an for the reason that the adult age of individuals has decreased from 21 years to 16 years. In other words those who were regarded by law as padofiles and subject to punishment, are now in the homo sexual category and therefore benefit from the society whch rejets discrimination. In the USA military don’t ask and don’t policy has now been altered for very reason.

    Rex Mnor

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  • Ahmed
    Jun 14, 2013 - 2:25PM

    I think this is because Pakistanis just don’t support unnatural behavior.I’m proud of it.

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  • Ahmed
    Jun 14, 2013 - 2:45PM

    I think it’s 2% because Pakistanis don’t accept unnatural behavior.

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  • Bewildered
    Jun 14, 2013 - 2:50PM

    Nothing religious, but homosexuality is against nature and an immensely despicable distorted behavior. Feel nausea even on the thought of it. It is good to be the least tolerant in this regard.

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  • A.M.Khan
    Jun 14, 2013 - 4:04PM

    Interior Sindh is full of this curse.

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  • Mj
    Jun 14, 2013 - 4:08PM

    @ayesha:

    “I am glad it is. may GOD save this country from all such evils. aameen.”

    It is interesting that the same country is also highly intolerant of women.

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  • Mj
    Jun 14, 2013 - 4:35PM

    @Bewildered:

    Please explain how it is against nature.

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  • SK
    Jun 14, 2013 - 4:55PM

    For the haters who are proud of their own stupidity.
    Some people are gay, get over it.
    Go do your own life and stop wasting our time by sharing what makes you uncomfortable.
    Stupid, small minded, hateful people like you make us uncomfortable but we still support your right to exist, and your rights to equal human rights.

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  • joe
    Jun 14, 2013 - 4:56PM

    Typical Pakistani hypocrisy. Homosexual behaviour is not uncommon in Punjab and is endemic in the other three provinces: Sindh, Baluchistan and KP, part of the culture really there !

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  • Natural
    Jun 14, 2013 - 5:01PM

    homosexuality is observed in many species of animals like dolphins , apes etc only the ones Educated in “religious schools” or too dumb to search before stating a “fact” will call it unnatural.

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  • Ovais
    Jun 14, 2013 - 5:08PM

    I have never heard a guy being executed in pakistan for being homo sexual had this been the case your fashion industry would be dying each day . we have bigger ethnic and sect problem than this . SO ET stop defaming pakistan and creating ridiculour stories to show islam in negative light. yes homosexuality is not allowed in islam and most people in pakistan dont support it but its not they are killing every homo sexual.

    the issue of ahmedi and homo sexuality have been escalated to create more problem. we have two major problems sectarian and ethnic war.

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  • ashar
    Jun 14, 2013 - 5:21PM

    I think ET is of the same view as that of Mj that is why the reply to his silly question is not being uploaded.

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  • khurram ahmed
    Jun 14, 2013 - 5:28PM

    For all those who r advocating in favour of homosexuality, its worth knowing that the same is condemned in Islam. Hence all those who think accepting homosexuality is a sign of human development and progress are ignorant…fact is that nations accepting it as a part of life r moving in reverse direction.

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  • Charlie Chapatti
    Jun 14, 2013 - 6:27PM

    You could have just said ‘Pakistan least tolerant globally’ and left it at that. It would have covered everything from sex to religion.

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  • Straight
    Jun 14, 2013 - 6:36PM

    The irony is that homosexuality is strongly discouraged in Pakistan, yet homoerotic behaviour is encouraged in Pakistani culture, I’ve seen so many men hold hands and do all kinds of things that would considered be creepy in America.

    @ET Moderators:Post my comment, there is nothing vulgar about it.

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  • Nadeem
    Jun 14, 2013 - 6:42PM

    Well, I would say homosexuality is considered normal to some elite class where even prominent people involves in it, all types of gay leisure activities practice in Pakistan if you don’t know then this is your problem. Gays are arranging parties, marriages under the ground. Almost 1 in 8 consider to be a gay, this practice becoming more fame with the New World Order, Globalization, Media and Freedom exercise in the west. Our Culture becoming change :(

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  • Anti Denialist
    Jun 14, 2013 - 7:52PM

    Meaning Saudi Arabia is more tolerant than Pakistanis to homosexuals. Wow

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  • jiyala
    Jun 14, 2013 - 8:03PM

    Not so surprising. Developed countries (with less religious influence) are more tolerant of homosexuality and backward countries are less tolerant. That is to be expected

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  • jiyala
    Jun 14, 2013 - 8:15PM

    Homosexuals, Atheists, “Ahmdis”, and basically anything that is not considered Islamic is strongly looked down upon here (I’m putting it mildly when I say “looked down upon”. In most cases, you’ll be lynched instantly if you confess to such non-Islamic beliefs publicly).

    Unfortunately, as long as our masses remain close-minded and deeply imbued with religion, this is how things are going to be in this country.

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  • jiyala
    Jun 14, 2013 - 8:26PM

    @ashar,

    It’s a long debate my friend, but human nature is what you believe it to be. Also, you should learn to live and let live.

    It’s proven by science that some animals (and yes, that includes human too) are attracted to same sex. It’s just how their brains are wired to work, and there’s nothing the can do about it.

    The least you can do is just tolerate it. Nobody is asking you to make friends with gay people. As I said before: live and let live.

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  • goggi (Lahore)
    Jun 14, 2013 - 8:26PM

    As long as a relationship between two humans is based on reciprocity, respect and mutual love, it is really not anybody´s concern to interfere in their personal lives and teach them from his morality or what is natural and what not.

    Die homosexuality in Pakistanis is largely understood as an abuse of young boys and cannot be compared with the homosexual subcultures of Western Europe where men and women live together as normal couples. Even the Mayor of Berlin is a homosexual. His saying “I’m gay – and that’s a good thing! “became a household word. He was the first German political leader who was so open about his homosexuality!

    Gran Canaria is one of many Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean which belongs to Spain.
    This beautiful Island is one of the most-loved meeting place of Homosexuals from all over the world.

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  • Adam Khan
    Jun 14, 2013 - 8:32PM

    Because real men live in Pakistan. not gays.

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  • Ali S
    Jun 14, 2013 - 8:52PM

    In a related study they found out that Pakistan is the world leader in terms of gay porn searches and ‘shemale porn’ searches in internet traffic. And guess what, instead of relatively liberal major cities like Lahore or Karachi, a lot of such traffic is coming from – wait for it – Peshawar. That’s right, even the bastion of ultra-conservative KPK turns to the internet to relieve its suppressed sexual frustration.

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  • saad s
    Jun 14, 2013 - 9:14PM

    The same survey tells that Pakistan is one of the leaders in browsing GAY PORN. Can some one explain me the contradiction.

    http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2013/06/gay-porn-pakistan

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  • Sodomite
    Jun 14, 2013 - 9:27PM

    Hey people. Stop running down my favorite pastime.

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  • Sodomite
    Jun 14, 2013 - 9:28PM

    @ayesha:
    People are asking of you. Are you AC\DC??

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  • Saqib
    Jun 14, 2013 - 9:52PM

    Looks like Pakistan sample was taken from KP, north and south Punjab. What do you say?

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  • Saad K
    Jun 14, 2013 - 10:13PM

    We are intolerant of people of different sects, regional languages, women, minorities etc. Asking Pakistani’s to be tolerant of homosexuality is like asking Hitler to be concerned about perservation of trees and wild life. Better start with basic human rights first before we crib about acceptance of gays.

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  • Rao
    Jun 14, 2013 - 10:19PM

    There is another side of the story not mentioned in this article, that Pakistan tops the list of google searches for this topic. Which means it is popular in Pakistan but people want to hate it. Peshawar and other cities in KP are mainly generating these searches on the google images and videos.

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  • Jun 14, 2013 - 10:36PM

    @saad s:
    If it doesn’t comes naturally to you then you have to search the stuff and know about it to become tolerant towards it.
    For instance, After 9/11 many Americans searched about Islam.That cleared their doubts.
    Pakistan is Islamic republic of Pakistan in fact, so this thing doesn’t come naturally to us.
    You just keep your friends close and your enemies closer….:P
    Tolerance towards them or their treatment for something better is the next step.
    Hope it clears up your doubts.

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  • Jun 14, 2013 - 10:40PM

    @saad s:
    If it doesn’t comes naturally to you then you have to search the stuff and know about it to become tolerant towards it.
    For instance, After 9/11 many Americans searched about Islam.That cleared their doubts.
    Pakistan is Islamic republic of Pakistan in fact, so this thing doesn’t come naturally to us.
    You just keep your friends close and your enemies closer….:P
    Tolerance towards them or their treatment for something better is the next step.
    Hope it clears up your doubts.Recommend

  • ashar
    Jun 14, 2013 - 10:47PM

    @jiyala:

    My dear there is a difference between human nature and evil desires.

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  • Insaan
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:08PM

    @Natural: homosexuality is observed in many species of animals like dolphins , apes

    May be it is more like bisexual thing. Do Dolphins, Apes when have a choice to do it with both sexes, pick their own sex or have exclusive relationship with same sex animals.

    In Pakistan a boys chance of being raped is almost same as s girl.

    Apes are also more like polygamous too.

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  • Bilal Afzal
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:16PM

    @Zafar Masood: what is the term moderate Muslims ? Can u please explain it ? homosexuality is the mental disorder ..thats the reality …

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  • Insaan
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:26PM

    @Rehan: In the animal kingdom, nearly all species have been shown to exhibit homosexuality.

    Do you mean nearly all species exhibit bisexuality? Homosexuality is when an animal prefers sex with his own kind when opposite sex member is available.

    I have a feeling male animals don’t have exclusive sex with males. A male animal may do it with a male when a WILLING female is not available.

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  • Indian atheist
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:26PM

    Not surprising. Pakistan is a country where no minority can live in peace including sexual minorities. Homosexuality is natural and normal. Its exhibited extensively among animals( hence natural). People have a fundamental right to love who they want and live as they like unless they infringe upon the life or liberties of others. So homosexuality must be accepted by society.

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  • Insaan
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:28PM

    @Afzaal Khan: Search Imam and rape on the Internet. Lot of boys get raped and sexually molested in the land of pure.

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  • fHAD
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:53PM

    kpk has zero tolerany. dont be fools

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  • goggi (Lahore)
    Jun 14, 2013 - 11:57PM

    @ashar:
    Human nature is as it is, AMORAL……..neither moral nor unmoral!!!!!

    Whereas evil desires is a very subjective assessment of the evaluator according to her/his mental frame.

    For example a desire to slaughter an innocent animal and eat it is an evil desire for me. But when you have the same desire to slaughter a goat to please your Allah then it is a holy act for you.

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  • Swinging sixties
    Jun 15, 2013 - 1:20AM

    The news report isn’t surprising. The comments are hilarious though! For all you big Pakistani men who love to whip it out in this bastion of Islamic values read this too:

    http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2013/06/gay-porn-pakistan
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/14/gay-porn-pakistann3437529.html

    Hypocrisy much? Now settle down and keep it in your pants lest you be mauled by them pesky gays.

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  • Shahid Ahmed
    Jun 15, 2013 - 2:51AM

    Ashar, Ahmed and likes. I DO NOT condone homosexuality but, with the same token I am very strongley against child molestation as well, which very much happens in many mosques/religious institution as well, all over the country. I wish people like you and others have a strong voice against any kind of sex manupilation. And these Maulvis and so called Ulemas having great voices against such crime as homosexuality, what do they say about their own sexuality, or about it’s presence in their own institutions.

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  • Long Time Reader
    Jun 15, 2013 - 3:57AM

    After reading some of the comments here, I am ashamed to be a Pakistani. If you don’t want to accept homosexuality, don’t. But let those who are homosexual live in peace. Of course the barbarian in us won’t let that happen. How people think they have a right to dictate everyone else’s life in the name of Islam makes me sick.

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  • Ali
    Jun 15, 2013 - 4:06AM

    I live in Nigeria. As at this point of time I am writing from Lagos. It is not about gays and lesbians in Nigeria. They just cannot tolerate anyone. Cannot wait to move out.

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  • Salman
    Jun 15, 2013 - 4:49AM

    Pew skipped India where homos are hated as much as in Pakistan

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  • Insaan
    Jun 15, 2013 - 5:42AM

    @Straight: homoerotic behaviour is encouraged in Pakistani culture, I’ve seen so many men hold hands and do all kinds of things that would considered be creepy in America.

    Men having sex with men is normal in your America, but 2 men holding hands or hugging is considered creepy. Most desis living in India/Pakistan do not consider holding hands or hugging an erotic thing. For a gay desi man it may be erotic.

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  • Insaan
    Jun 15, 2013 - 5:55AM

    @Nadeem: Our Culture becoming change :(

    Don’t worry, your culture is same, only difference is public and media have started talking about things like child sex abuse, homosexuality, rape, incest, prostitution openly.

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  • Insaan
    Jun 15, 2013 - 6:03AM

    @S: For instance, After 9/11 many Americans searched about Islam.That cleared their doubts.

    No need to search, just follow truly Islamic countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Liabya, Egypt etc. Muslims living in these countries are very religious and have been following Islam for 100s of years. A religion is reflected by how its followers live and treat each other.

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  • Jun 15, 2013 - 6:15AM

    Live and let live! What consenting adults do with each other in private is not the business of the state and certainly is not business of maulanasahibs

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  • AM
    Jun 15, 2013 - 7:30AM

    This is a society that hates gays but protects pedophiles and sexual predators… what nonsense.

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  • Zeeshan
    Jun 15, 2013 - 6:07PM

    May Allah give us guidance to the right path. Homosexuality should be given ZERO tolerance level.

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  • Some Person
    Jun 15, 2013 - 6:16PM

    For those who are supporting Gays and Homosexuality. Do check the story Of Hazrat Loot (Lot as in Bible).

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  • Yousuf
    Jun 15, 2013 - 6:21PM

    @Zeeshan
    Homosexuality is very prevalent here as you should know. Because of restrictions on male female interactions even straight men and women engage in these activities. I would even say it is more common then in the West. You are living in denial my friend.

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  • ashar
    Jun 15, 2013 - 7:30PM

    To all the gays and lesbian supporters, how about your own family member become so, would you treat them with open heart.

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  • Naseer Muhammad
    Jun 15, 2013 - 8:34PM

    Interesting how the most under developed and backwards parts of the world are also the most homophobic, food for thought

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  • TTV
    Jun 16, 2013 - 12:58AM

    @ashar: Yes I would. I would treat them no differently than a person who is left-handed.

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  • jugnoo
    Jun 16, 2013 - 8:50AM

    @RB Mian:
    You are right, its very common in under 20 in pak in men and women due to difficulty in hetero-relationship.

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  • Naveed Alam Khattak
    Jun 16, 2013 - 10:49AM

    @Billoo Bhaya…
    I think you experienced something in KPK.

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  • asif
    Jun 16, 2013 - 5:20PM

    @Ali Hamza:
    i want to know what is more special in KPK than the entire of pakistan

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