Rights champion condemns mocking of Pakhtuns - 10-31-2012, 02:22 PM
LONDON: A renowned human rights advocate has expressed disquiet at the apparent mocking of homosexuals and Pakhtuns at a Pakistani community event where the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain was also present.
Peter Tatchell said he was surprised by British peer Lord Nazir Ahmed’s seeming collusion with a joke that panders to “homophobic anti-Pashtun stereotypes”.Peter Tatchell spoke after a video was posted on YouTube in which Lord Ahmed and George Fulton, an English journalist who speaks fluent Urdu and worked in Pakistan for several years, jest about George receiving marriage proposals from men from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The Pakistani community event was held on 20th of October 2012 at a central London location.To his embarrassment, Mian Iftikhar Hussain was present in the audience and before cracking the crude joke, Lord Ahmed asked Hussain to “please don’t mind” as what was going to be said.
Replying to a question of Lord Ahmed as how many proposals he had received, George says in total he received six proposals for marriage in Pakistan: “I got two offers from men and four offers from women.”Lord Ahmed then eggs him on as who made these offers and George replies: “Those two offers (from men) were from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.” The hall erupted in applause at this joke.
Peter Tatchell said: “There is nothing wrong with being gay or for a man to receive a marriage proposal from another man. Love is love. However, in the context where Pashtun men are often mocked as being inclined to homosexuality, these comments were ill-advised. Homosexuality exists in all parts of the world and among all ethnic groupings. It’s not a joke or deserving of ridicule.”
When asked for comment on Monday, George Fulton said Lord Nazir raised the “issue of marriages proposals”. He said that Pakhtuns were “strong enough not to be hurt by these comments.”
When approached for comment, Lord Ahmed accepted that he had egged on George Fulton. He defended his comments by saying: “My question to George was in joke as he had shared this story in Slough some months ago.”
Hina Din Khan, Pakhtun nationalist and human rights campaigner based in London said: “The obvious reaction would be anger filled but I’m rather disappointed in Lord Nazir Ahmed as he’s only gone and proved that he is part of the inner Pakistani problem. His delivery was also highly patronising towards all Pakhtuns and KP Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain. Mian Iftikhar should have at least walked out of the ceremony in which outrageous and insulting remarks were said about the Pakhtuns.”
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