Arshad Sulahri: Why is it necessary to repeal Section 377 of the Pakistan Penal Code?

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The statement of fear is popular in Pakistan. Fear is an effective weapon of illegitimate governments. General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq had seized power but remained in fear till his death. The country and the nation are still suffering the consequences. Fear, oppression, and tyranny destroy the lives of nations.

The present covenant is for human rights and individual freedoms. Generations are rebelling from the shackles of nine centuries. Section 377 of the Slavery Covenant is still part of Pakistan. That is a sign of fear, oppression, human rights violations and discrimination.

The main source of Pakistan’s penal code is Penalties of India. It is a comprehensive set of criminal laws. The purpose of which is to cover all the important issues of criminal law. This law was drafted in 1860. Collection of Penalties in Pakistan Section 377 or Section 377 which is a law of 158 years old British rule. Under which, certain sexual relations have been declared unnatural crimes and the punishment is ten years imprisonment. According to this law, having sex with a man, woman, or animal against the natural principles, is a crime.

The 377 law was enacted by the British Crown in an undemocratic manner in its territories which reflects human rights violations and discrimination. Section 377 has been misused since the British Raj till this day. In Pakistan, especially the general public, is being affected. The Pakistan Penal Code is an Islamic law and has nothing to do with any religion, including Islam, but a commission of the Crown of Britain established under the Charter Act 1833 & under the chairmanship of Thomas Babington Macaulay in 1834. The system of slavery in India was imposed on the recommendation of the Supreme Court to further strengthen the shackles of slavery. Section 377 is also being used as a weapon as a chain of slavery.

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A living example of this is the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim. Against whom Section 377 was used politically and Anwar Ibrahim spent 9 years in jail. The victims of Article 377 in Pakistan are many young men, women, and men whose lives were ruined and some took the path of suicide for salvation. Under the guise of section 377, the police blackmail, which is common. Especially young women are targeted for disobedience or their inability to speak. This inhumane and slavery law has been abolished in neighboring India. In 2013, the Indian Supreme Court annulled Section 377 or declared Section 377 invalid. The ruling states that section 377 does not apply to accidental sexual intercourse between adult homosexuals (guys). There was a unanimous decision of the five judges of the Supreme Court. Among them, Justice Indu-Malhotra wrote that history apologizes to the members of this community and their families for the suffering that was inflicted on them and theirs Boycotted for centuries. It is too late to fix it. Members of this community were forced to live in fear of reprisals and persecution.

Freelance journalist and human rights activist Hanifa Abbasi is campaigning for reform in Section 377. Hanifa Abbasi has also launched an online petition.

Cruel and Unjust Section 377 needs to be abolished immediately on humanitarian grounds so that people of different sexual orientations and eunuchs living in Pakistan can escape double oppression and fear.

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By

Arshad Sulahri is a correspondent for Eat News in Pakistan, and the President of National Union Of Journalists Pakistan.

By

Eat News is a Taiwanese digital media, analyzes current events and issues through column articles, videos, visual aid, and exclusive interviews.

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