South Asia

Pakistan 'eunuch wedding' is stopped by police

The pair have strongly protested their innocence

Police in the Pakistani city of Peshawar have arrested a man for trying to marry a eunuch, officials say.

At least 45 other people, including several eunuchs, have also been arrested for attending the "marriage" ceremony.

The pair have denied they were getting married.

But correspondents say that this is the first time such an incident - involving a 42-year-old fertiliser dealer and a teenaged eunuch - has been reported.

Pakistan has a large population of eunuchs living all over the country.

The community was recently granted official status by Pakistan's supreme court.

It ordered that a third section for gender should be be included in the national registration form which is completed by all citizens.

'Unnecessary trouble'

The man accused of being the "groom" told the AFP news agency that he already has two wives.

Malik Iqbal denied he was marrying the eunuch - who is known locally by the name of Rani (Queen) Sangeeta.

"We were having a birthday party, but police arrested us. We had no intention of getting married," Mr Iqbal told AFP at the police station.

Rani also insisted that nothing untoward had taken place, accusing the police of "putting people in trouble unnecessarily".

Police official Akthar Ali Khattak told the BBC that the pair were taken to the local magistrate on Tuesday.

"The court has now handed them over to us for further investigation," he said.

Mr Khattak said that the couple were arrested along with other guests at their wedding at a local plaza in Peshawar's Faqirabad neighbourhood.

Pakistan's common and Sharia law both strictly forbid marriage between anyone other than a male or female.

Until the 1990s, adult women could not marry without the consent of their guardians.

Correspondents say that eunuchs in Pakistan are still treated in many cases like second class citizens despite recently been granted equal status.

More on this story