A young die-hard Pakistani fan of ace Indian batsman Virat Kohli who was arrested for hoisting the Indian tri-colour atop his home in Punjab province may have to spend more time in police custody after a court reserved its verdict on his bail plea.
Judge Anique Anwar of district court in Okara reserved the decision yesterday after the counsel for Daraz completed his arguments on his bail petition.
Daraz, a 22-year-old tailor, who also resembles Kohli, is facing up to 10 years imprisonment for hoisting the Indian flag at the rooftop of his house in Okara district.
He was arrested from his house, some 200 kilometers from Lahore, on January 25 and police registered an FIR under section 123-A of Pakistan Penal Code and 16 Maintenance of Public Order.
The section 123-A (acts of damaging the sovereignty of the country) carries maximum punishment of 10 years in jail or fine or both.
His counsel Aamir Bhatti told the court his client is innocent as he hoisted Indian flag at his house only to support his favourite cricketer who was playing against Australia at that time.
He said Daraz committed a mistake without knowing its implications.
“This is not a case in which someone hoisting the flag any country for its love. During Football World Cup matches people here used to hoist Brazil and Argentina flags and no body minds it because the gesture is seen in a sports perspective. This is a similar case,” he argued.
“I am a big fan of Virat Kohli. I support the Indian team because of Kohli. Hoisting of Indian flag on the rooftop of my house only shows my love for the Indian cricketer,” Draz had said.
He said he had no idea that he committed a crime, urging the authorities concerned to pardon him as he should be seen as “an Indian cricketer’s fan and not a spy”.
Poster size photographs of Kohli were also found pasted at the walls of his house.
The police seized the flag and Kohli posters and pictures.
Some civil society activists and journalists have raised voice for his release terming his gesture purely that of a sports’ lover.