A same-sex kiss featured on the cover of the International New York Times was blanked out in the Pakistani edition.

The iconic American newspaper had featured a gay couple from China on the cover of its International edition on Friday – after a Chinese court accepted a same-sex marriage lawsuit.

However, in the edition published in Pakistan, the image was removed – leaving a conspicuous large blank square.

A caption underneath the blank square stated: “This picture was removed by our publishing alliance in Pakistan.

“The International New York Times and its editorial staff had no role in its removal.”

Kamal Siddiqi, editor of Pakistan’s Express Tribune, told the Washington Post that the image had been censored  as part of a “long-standing agreement” with the US paper.

He added the agreement allows them to refuse items which”may cause problems locally”, adding: “You will not see a picture in Pakistan of men kissing… in fact, you will not see a picture of anyone kissing.”

Gilles Sabrie, the photographer who took the picture, tweeted a comparison between the two newspapers, adding: “Pakistan doesn’t like gay love. My pic on INYT today’s front page censored.”

The article connected to the image revolves around Sun Wenlin and Hu Mingliang – two young men who brought a lawsuit after they were refused permission to marry.

The court case, believed to be the first of its kind in China, names a civil affairs bureau in the capital of the Hunan Province

Chinese officials claim that “only one man and one woman” can register to marry.

But Sun insists: “The original text of the marriage law does not say one man and one woman, but a husband and a wife.

“I personally believe that this term refers not only to heterosexual couples but also to same-sex couples, to gay men and lesbians.”