With this text, Mehrub Moiz Awan offers us a tongue-in-cheek account of the misogynistic and transphobic structures of the Pakistani state and dominant society. Her sharp and implacable description shows us that, despite often being absent from our political imaginaries, humor remains a powerful medium to articulate a ruthless critique.
Welcome to the Incel Republic of Pakistan. We have 210 million citizens in our country, and many non-citizens: some men, some women, and some “transgenders.” Previously, we used to call them “shemales,” as that is what porn had taught us. Now, they call themselves “transgender” in English and “khwajasira” in Urdu, but what we really want to call them is “dead.” For every 100,000 transgender people in our Incel Republic, we kill almost 800 of them in one year alone. This is fifteen times higher than the highest murder rate in the world (El Salvador), but we come in peace. Because for every 800 transgender persons that we kill in a year, we make 800 normal male and female babies in just over an hour. We think it is a fair bargain. After all, the 800 new babies will make 400 new families, and did I tell you how much we love our families?
Welcome to the Family Republic of Pakistan. We love our families, and our families love us even harder. Sometimes, they love us so hard that we accidentally die due to the unbearable love. Maya was one such accident. She lived in the rural part of Nowshera in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and had been declared male at the time of her birth, and like all male births, she was celebrated twice as much as her declared female siblings. When she started showing signs of femininity, her family resorted to loving her even more so that she could be fixed back to masculinity. They loved her with slippers, cloth hangers, wipers, sticks, and all other instruments commonly available for domestic loving in our Family Republic. When this love didn’t fix her, they loved her to death with machetes. Love and death tend to coexist in our beautiful Family Republic, which is why we make two more for each one that ends up dying due to our excessive love. The science is still unclear as to why it is mostly female or transgender persons that die due to excessive love. Feminists say it is “honor killing,” but let me tell you more about loving in Pakistan.
Welcome to the Loving Republic of Pakistan. We fall in lust here a lot, but as we can’t admit it openly, we stick to calling it “love.” Our men love a lot of different people here: women, girls, boys, some other men, transgender women with penises, transgender women without penises, and occasionally, dead people. Our women only love their husbands, and bidets. Whether our transgender people love or not, we don’t care because they’re all homosexual shemales and they trap our innocent men into loving them. Our men try to bring them on to the right path by forcing them to only sleep with one partner—themselves. Western-funded feminists call it “rape” and “male hegemony on transfeminine bodies,” but it isn’t rape if it is done to a homosexual transgender shemale. If she refuses to stick to that one principled man who is just doing our family system a service by teaching her monogamy, the man shaves her head bald. If she is bald, she is ugly, and if she’s ugly, no man would want her. But because we’re in the Loving Republic of Pakistan, she still gets loved by someone other than her loving partner. In such a case, his immense love for her compels him to either love her in the limbs with bullets so she can’t move around, or love her even more with bullets, knives, scissors, fists, and hands, till she dies. Death is mandatory, and everyone must die; this is what we believe as Muslims—and have I told you how much we love being Muslim?
Welcome to the Muslim Republic of Pakistan. We are over 95 percent Muslim; Alhamdulillah. As Muslims, we don’t know what it means to be Muslim, so being Muslim must be enforced on all of us, even on non-Muslims, because even if we aren’t Muslim, our beautiful Republic is. Like Andrew Tate, our Republic also became Muslim almost to find an ideological refuge for its hatred of women and non-men, and it hasn’t disappointed. Western states are always trying to un-Muslim our state, and consequently our faith is always at risk.
We refuse to believe that “real” transgenders can achieve something this historic; hence we conclude that this is a Western conspiracy by homosexuals to un-Muslim us. Socialist activists will try to tell you that the 22 percent Pakistanis living below the poverty line, the 8,300 mothers dying during childbirth in one year, and the 18 percent malnourished children are more at risk than the Muslim in our Republic, but we wholly reject such biased claims that only malign the positive image of our Muslim Republic. Ours is a Republic that has Islam as a state religion in its Constitution, it mandates the President to be a Muslim, it has a parallel Shariah legal system, and it has a Council of Islamic Ideology to inform whether legislations passed by democratically elected legislators are Muslim enough or not. You must wonder, how can then we ever be un-Muslimed? It is through conspiracies hatched by the West, and homosexual transgender shemales. Which is why we declare anyone a blasphemer when they bring forth un-Muslim ideas like protecting the bodily dignity and privacy of all citizens, ensuring state welfare to the poor, protecting minorities, and ending class-apartheid. Class stratification isn’t a gift of capitalism, elitism, or feudalism. It is a gift from God for telling His followers which of them He has blessed, and whom He hasn’t. The poor are only poor because they are not Muslim enough. The richer you are, the more Muslim you must be. Which is why khwajasira people are the poorest, because they are the least Muslim among us. Which reminds me, we love poor people in Pakistan.
Welcome to the Poor Republic of Pakistan. We have many poor people, and they always remain poor because He doesn’t like them as much as He likes our rich people. They work as our servants everywhere. They clean our streets and sewers and offices, do drugs, talk in vulgar languages, live filthy dirty lives, and have no water in their slums. The poorest are the homosexual transgender shemales, and they do even more poor stuff like sex work and begging. Whenever our cars stop at the red light, they come begging us for money and annoying us. Because they are such bad people, we feel bad for them too, and sometimes give them a 100-rupee bill, which is 1% of the minimum monthly wage and counts as a lot! Some poor people become less poor, and then they become nurses. We really like those poor people, and that is why our rich people don’t become nurses—they become doctors—so that poor people can un-poor themselves by becoming nurses and being close to the rich doctors. Ever since the Transgender Persons Act was passed in 2018, some khwajasiras have also expressed a desire to become nurses. But if that happens then these degenerates will urinate and defecate in the same toilet seats as poor Muslim nurses, and that will destroy our Muslim Family system.
It is only because in Pakistan, we love protecting the modesty of our Muslim women.
Welcome to the Modest Republic of Pakistan. We love modesty so much that our Modest Republic’s official electronic media regulation authority has official guidelines stating what in a woman’s body it considers to be immodest: ankles and armpits. This is why you will never see a woman’s armpits and ankles shown on our national television. If a previously immodest woman starts hating on transgender women online, we immediately issue her a National Certificate of Modesty Restoration and hail her as a Protector of the Modesty of our Women. Some liberal activists say that this is being strategically deployed by some fame-hungry female celebrities, who have been at the receiving end of misogyny by the public to shore up popular support by perpetuating transphobic rhetoric. But we disagree, because modesty (like richness) is also a blessing by Him, that can only come to His chosen ones at any time. These days, transgender people are getting a lot of attention, thanks to the Transgender Act—which is a secret conspiracy by the West to promote gay marriage in Pakistan. Because we listen to Matt Walsh and other white supremacist transphobic commentators with Muslim fervor, we are getting very concerned about transgender athletes (of which we have none) making it to our female sports teams. We must protect our Republic’s wonderful female sports, and their modesty, at all costs from these homosexual transgender shemales. Just recently, our women’s football team defeated Maldives in a fierce showdown of strength that warranted a public celebration of our girls in green. But our Muslim female players were wearing shorts and t-shirts and we could see some of their skin, so instead of being happy, we called them “blasphemers” and “disbelievers,” abused them online, hurled sexual slurs at them and gave them immense mental agony—because we were protecting the modesty of the Muslim woman in female sports in Pakistan. You may think it is paradoxical of us to hate Pakistani women in sports but also claim to be rescuing them from the transgender conspiracy, but have I told you how paradoxical we are?
Welcome to the Paradoxical Republic of Pakistan. Firstly, we are Pakistan, not India. In fact, “not-India” is our actual cultural identity. To carve a new national identity for ourselves, we ran so far away from India that we found ourselves in Saudi Arabia.
These days, we are trying to be the Turkish Republic of Pakistan, because, at this point, we will accept any identity that will help us forget that we are, in fact, Pakistani. We have an active legislation to protect transgender persons against harassment and discrimination in the country, have awarded two military laurels to transgender women for exemplary achievements, are the only country to have sent a transgender woman as part of a national delegation to a UN summit, and a country with a vastly documented and decadent pre-colonial Muslim culture of transgender inclusion and acceptance that exists to this date through Sufism. All of this suggests that we, as a nation, are the most culturally ready to pave the way for other Muslim, South Asian, and post-colonial nation states for a trans-inclusive gender futurity. The khwajasiras in Pakistan proudly say that even the British colonizers couldn’t eliminate them despite their draconian Criminal Tribes Acts that criminalized being transgender in the late 19th century, and termed them “habitual sodomites.” Yet, here we stand today; ready to “almost” roll back one of the most progressive legislations in the world by challenging it in a Shariah court, and setting ablaze decades of anti-colonial resistance by reintroducing colonial terms and rhetoric for transgender people. Secretly, we all admit that the British were better than us because they killed us more than we killed them, more advanced than us because they built the railways while we merely built civilizations, taught us discipline through famines and food insecurity, and tried to get rid of these transgender persons through Victorian gender morality laws. Although direct colonization doesn’t exist anymore, but J. K. Rowling does and we all have read Harry Potter—although initially, some of our seniors told us it’s haram. Now, armed with the power of transphobic Avada Kedavra, we shall make patriarchy great again, Insha’Allah. Isn’t it paradoxically befitting that we are completing the unfinished business of gender colonization now? On that note, welcome to the Neo-Colonial Republic of Pakistan. ■