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Sat Oct 25 06:19:56 SAST 2014

Pakistan's first gay website dodges government block

Sapa-dpa | 26 September, 2013 10:34
A gay rights flag
Gay rights flag. File photo.
Image by: OSWALDO RIVAS/ REUTERS / REUTERS

Pakistan's first website dedicated to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community moved to a new web address minutes after it was blocked by authorities, its founder said.

"No one can squeeze space for us," said Fakhir, who declined to give his full name. "We are ready for a long cyber battle."

QueerPk was launched in July to provide social networking opportunities for Pakistani's marginalized LGBT community, he said.

When the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority blocked the site this week, QueerPk's technical team diverted all traffic to the same content on another domain, humjins.com, within minutes.

Homosexuality is a taboo in the conservative Muslim country, with legal and social restrictions on its public discussion.

Up to 1,000 people visited the QueerPk site daily, according to a group monitoring web traffic.

Pakistani authorities can block any blasphemous or pornographic websites.

The video-sharing website YouTube has been banned for more than a year after showing a short movie deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammed.

Fakhir said the ban should not apply to QueerPk, which does not have any blasphemous or pornographic content.

"This is a completely illegal ban, depriving a sizeable community from the right to information," he said.

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