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A man is reportedly being detained in a psychiatric institution by local authorities after attempting to establish Pakistan’s first gay club.

The individual, whose name has not been disclosed, was reportedly detained and placed in a psychiatric hospital after applying to create a business in Abbottabad.

The application, filed to the deputy commissioner of the northern Pakistani city, indicated that the club would be of “great convenience” for LGBTQ+ individuals in the area and throughout the country.

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The man proposed the club be named the “Lorenzo gay club” and emphasised that it would have strict rules against sex on the premises.

“A clearly visible notice on the wall would warn: no sex on the premises,” the application stated. “This would mean that no legal constraints would be flouted on the premises.”

Homosexuality is currently illegal in Pakistan under the 1860 Penal Code, which criminalises acts of “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” and was introduced by the British during the colonial period.

Following the application, which Abbottabad’s Deputy Commissioner said is under review like any other proposal, the individual was reportedly arrested and transferred to the Sarehad Hospital for psychiatric evaluation. He has been held there since 9 May.

Speaking to The Age before his transfer to the psychiatric hospital in Peshawar, the individual expressed his desire to defend human rights.

“I have started the struggle for the rights of the most neglected community in Pakistan, and I will raise my voice in every forum,” he said. “If the authorities refuse, then I will approach the court, and I hope that, like the Indian court, the Pakistani court will rule in favour of gay people.”

Homosexuality was decriminalised in India after a five-judge Constitutional Bench overturned a Supreme Court decision on the Johar v Union case in 2018, striking down similar provisions in India’s Penal Code.

Various far-right groups, religious institutions, and anti-LGBTQ+ politicians have spread conspiracy theories, alleging that the individual is working as a foreign agent for a Western state due to his recent visit to the UK.

Friends of the detained man have expressed extreme concern over his safety, stating they have been prevented from visiting him or obtaining information about his well-being.

“Everyone is afraid that talking about it will put them in danger,” one individual reportedly said, adding that they had “tried to find out about him a couple of times” to no avail.

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