Pakistan: Taliban threaten Lakhtai boys and "eunuch" dancers

One Abdur Raziq contributes June 9 a brief account to the open-posting website Ground Report ("Where You Make the News") of the Taliban crackdown on elements of traditional Pashtun culture which are considered "un-Islamic" in Pakistan's Tribal Areas—Lakhtai dancing boys and "eunuchs." These latter are not necessarily literally castrated, but what we call "trans-gendered" in the West. However, an entry in the Things Asian website informs us that a real eunuch caste known as the hijras survives in India. We have noted before Taliban intolerance of the region's indigenous gay culture and music.

"Lakhtai dancer boys in Laki Marwat and Tank are vanished now, because, of pressure from Taliban, dancer boys of tribal areas in NWFP Pakistan are called Lakhtai in Pashto language, it was an oldest institution in NWFP, young boys up to the age of 12 years were employed to dance before the audience, their family members used to accompany them as musicians and instrument players, each Lakhtai (dancer boy) ends his career as dancer when his beard and moustaches start growing on his face, it means his career as dancer starts from the age of 12 years and ends when he becomes 17 years old. These dancer boys of tribal areas are not Eunuchs, at the end of their career as dancer they got married and raise their children, boys among their children become dancer boys when they reach the age of twelve years, each dancer boy is taught drum (Tabla) or Harmonium," an orakzai tribesman Mr. Inayat Orakzai has said.

"A fifteen years old dancer boy Naseem was killed by his lover Waheed Afridi in Gul Abad area of Peshawar during the holy month of Muharam, Waheed was annoyed because dancer boy Naseem was not willing to do sex with him, now the accused killer has paid three hundred thousand rupees to the parents of Naseem, as compensation money for his crime, and compromise has reached between both parties," a Eunuch of Teera Bazaar Kohat Mr. Arshad has said.

Mr. Inayat Orakzai owns a hotel, in which Eunuchs come to entertain the guests during the night, his hotel is located in Teerah Bazar area of Kohat, in many buildings surrounding his hotel Eunuchs are residing, a religious seminary known as Qazi Madrassa is also located in the same area, "recently Eunuchs are threatened by Taliban, a pamphlet carrying warnings for Eunuchs was distributed among them, in pamphlet it was stated that Eunuchs must leave their profession, because their activities are contrary to Islamic practices," a Eunuch of Teera Bazaar Kohat has said.

"There is no AIDS victim available in Eunuchs, they do safe sex, mostly their customers use condoms, while doing sex with them, most of the Eunuchs are not aware regarding existence of AIDS," a Eunuch of Teera Bazaar Kohat Mr. Arshad has said. "We have two kinds of Eunuchs, complete males along with their live and completely functioning sex organs, and the other type of Eunuch is a former male who has opted to remove his male sex organ, both kind of Eunuchs wear female clothes, wear make up and try to look as much womanly as possible," Mr Inayat Orkzai has further added.

"There is brothel of Eunuchs in Mansehra city of NWFP where customers do anal sex with Eunuchs, in Kohat too such brothel does exist," A Eunuch of Teera Bazar Kohat has said.

See our last post on Pakistan.