Journalist Spends Afternoon in a Pakistani Porn Cinema

Dec 26, 2013 5:00 PM PST

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Nestled in a bastion of devout Islamists lies the Shama, a popular porno theatre that has the served the region’s erotic needs for 30 years.

According to a piece published by the DailyStar, patrons can shell out the equivalent of a $1.90 and enter the Shama’s “discreet backroom,” fronted by a Khalashnikov-endowed guard.

“During one showing, the hall was more than half full, populated by laborers, farmers, students and others who had come to escape the day-to-day claustrophobia of life in a deeply conservative Muslim region where family and neighbors keep a close eye on everything,” wrote journalist Emmanuel Duparcq, who actually attended an XXX screening at the Shama.

The day Duparcq attends, the Shama is playing “Dostana” (“Friendship”) a semi-amateur production made in a more liberal region with Pakistani actors. The two-hour film follows a man named "the Horseman" as he quests to choose between two prospective wives. in the end, he decides its best to marry both.  

One patron told Duparq, “Like a lot of people here I prefer films with Pakistani girls. It’s better, it seems more amateur, more real.”

Despite intermittent backlash, the theatre has thrived for more than three decades, due in no little part to being owned by the Bilour family, one of the most influential in Peshawar and a pillar of the Pashtun nationalist ANP party.

To read the complete article, “Sex, drugs and beards: an afternoon in a Pakistani porn cinema,” click here.

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