Mystical Shayari band deletes Instagram after receiving death threats for “indecent photo”

03 Aug 2021
The band said they posed for the photos in a bid to exercise their right to express themselves. Band image from YouTube
The band said they posed for the photos in a bid to exercise their right to express themselves. Band image from YouTube

The photos of two young members of a band, dressed in clothes deemed offensive, at Quaid-e-Azam Monument in Islamabad created such outrage that the band deleted their Instagram.

Mystical Shayari shut down their Instagram account on Tuesday due to death threats they were receiving under the garb of moral policing after their photo shoot went viral on social media.

In their last post, the band members in a detailed message blamed an individual for initiating a hate campaign against them and also slammed a Islamabad based social media account for “recklessly amplifying” the “Twitter hate-storm” against them.

“Since then, we have been subjected to a ceaseless barrage of hate messages, threats and raging transphobic ridicule,” read the message.

They wrote they also requested the Islamabad based social media account to take their pictures down. However, the request was turned down and “they repurposed our words to create a new post and tagged us which has increased the scale of intensity of threats by at least ten fold,” it said.

It appears the photos caught the attention of The News’ journalist Ansar Abbasi who tweeted the DC Islamabad asking for the couple to be arrested for obscenity.

The DC replied asking for information on their identity but it's unclear if he planned to take action, and if so, under what legal provisions.

Abbasi later thanked the DC with a follow up tweet though it's still not clear what action the DC took.

Many social media users took to Twitter and contributed to a hate campaign against the band, while a few users also appreciated Mystical Shayari's courage and lauded the pictures.

For their part, the band said they posed for the photos in a bid to exercise their right to express themselves.

In a post on social media the band is described as "a body practice and movement in gender jihad and malamati love. Currently making music and telling stories in Pakistan, they flit from education to performance to party as part of their commitment to feminine/feminist labour. Ascending is the first single off their upcoming album, Gulistan. The story begins with pain, but there is always a next chapter. When we belong together, we can mean anything."