In Pakistan, if you support the Indian cricket team, you will be arrested

Published: January 29, 2016
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One can understand why some Pakistanis might be offended by the sight of an Indian flag over a Pakistani house. And I can also understand why Indian nationalists may be offended by Umar’s arrest

I’ve long protested the Indian state’s stern actions against Kashmiri activists and other citizens for hoisting the Pakistani flag or singing the Pakistani anthem. Then something happened in Okara, Pakistan, that left me feeling oddly hypocritical, badly disarmed, and somewhat embarrassed.

A few days ago, a 22-year-old Pakistani tailor raised an Indian flag over the roof of his house in a small Punjabi village. Umar Daraz, a cricket enthusiast, sewed the tricolour banner in his own little shop, ostensibly as a symbol of admiration for the Indian cricket team – particularly, Virat Kohli.

His patriotic neighbours were displeased. Umar refused to remove the flag and continued working in his shop. His house was raided by the police and Umar was soon arrested under Section 123-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Section-16 of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).

These are big words for a young villager who supposedly endangered the sovereignty of our great nation with a piece of cloth, and now faces up to 10 years in jail. These are big words for most people, in fact, and require some explanation.

Section 123-A of PPC says nothing about flags of unfriendly countries, specifically. It outlaws the act of condemning the creation of Pakistan or advocating the abolition of its sovereignty. Section 16 of the MPO deals with the dissemination of rumours.

There is no news of Umar claiming to have directly admonished the Two-Nation Theory or the creation of Pakistan. His act of simply raising an Indian flag over his house may arguably imply such a thing, although Umar admits he had committed a blunder.

One can understand why some Pakistanis might be offended by the sight of an Indian flag over a Pakistani house. And I can also understand why Indian nationalists may be offended by Umar’s arrest. Now, consider the following:

In January last year, seven youngsters were arrested by the Indian police in New Delhi, for allegedly putting up a Pakistani flag. They were charged under Section 153-B of the Indian Penal Code.

In September last year, a Kashmiri leader was arrested for unfurling a Pakistani flag and singing the Pakistani national anthem.

In March 2014, students at Swami Vivekanand Subharti University were suspended and then threatened with sedition charges for cheering for Pakistan’s victory in a cricket match.

Would a Pakistani nationalist endorse the actions of the Indian authorities in these circumstances? It shouldn’t be surprising that what you do unto others is being done unto you too.

We are left with two options that do not involve blunt hypocrisy. The first is for us to embrace our insecurities and shake hands with the Indians on the need to harangue and arrest our own citizens for waving the other country’s banner. We bow our heads and we lead ourselves to believe that the other’s nationalistic delirium justifies our own.

The second option involves an acknowledgement that Pakistan’s integrity is secure enough to withstand the sight of a poor villager brandishing an Indian flag in honour of an athlete or a sports team he admires. Or that India’s dignity is firm enough to endure the sound of one of its subject singing a Pakistani national song without bursting apart at its seams.

The second option for each of us is to take one step back, and avoid adding more caveats to what’s becoming an increasingly meaningless phrase: ‘A Free Country’.

I think I’d strongly recommend the second option!

Do you think Umar Daraz's arrest for hoisting an Indian flag is justified?

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Faraz Talat

Faraz Talat

A medical doctor and bubble-wrap enthusiast from Rawalpindi, who writes mostly about science and social politics (and bubble-wrap). He tweets @FarazTalat (twitter.com/FarazTalat)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • mirestan

    Bull shit . If you host Indian flag on your house. Than there is some thing wrong, The guy must be arrested and his links to Indians must be investigated.Recommend

  • Allah Hafiz

    I think Pakistanis should feel proud by hoisting Indian Flag….Look at the beauty of the flag…three colors having an equal area…..Which respect every religion and color and race……Pakistan should also have a flag change…and should have a flag same as India…..i.e. Green color can be halved and Red color can be put instead of green and white should be increased…..Red should be the most loving color of pakistanis,….Recommend

  • Parvez

    You got all serious and are beating yourself up on an incident that took place in a small town in the Punjab ( to be honest, I felt bad about too ) where the police do not use their brains ( most probably because they have none ) and the neighbour was certainly no better. Stuff like this happens, should not, but it does, both here and in India. Lets hope better sense prevails and if it comes to adjudication, those with brains use them.
    In my view, let us not bother about how India manages this…….we should bother about ourselves.Recommend

  • Soumyadeep Debnath

    logo ko jeeney do…..Recommend

  • Striver

    For God’s sake read the report before you decide comment on it, Faraz Talat. He was arrested not for sporting Indian team but hoisting the Indian flag on his house.

    TWO DIFFERENT THINGS !

    This makes your article a total nonsense.

    Recommend

  • wb

    You remember your other blog? I had told you exactly what would happen if someone hoisted Indian flag in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Alter Ego

    To use Putin’s famous words “Do you not have any common sense?”.

    If Kashmiris can be tortured , imprisoned and raped for supporting Pakistan then Pakistan can certainly arrest a man for proudly waving an Indian flag on his house.

    A flag is a symbol of pride for a country , you do not raise a flag of another country on your house , especially if you always have had tense relations with that country.

    What do you think would have happened if an Indian had waved Pakistani flag in India ,arrest would have been the least of his worries,given Indian’s fetish for mob lynching.

    If you live in Pakistan ,you use Pakistan’s resources , you drink its water,you eat its food,you drive on its roads , then you owe your loyalty to Pakistan.

    Why dont we all raise Indian flags on our houses , next time a great movie of SRK comes along.

    The man should have had common sense.Recommend

  • mimi sur

    @Mr.Talat,

    Being Indian I would say, whatever Pak gov did was right. We also do the same. We also hate Pakistanis when they visit India , we really do not like them, But most Pakistanis are shameless . We also want Pakistan gov to shut down all the Pakistani theaters screening Hindi movies. When anyone do not stand up during our national anthem play, we drive him/her out of that place, so leave alone raising/praising Pakistan Pakistani flag.Recommend

  • Bharatiya Australian

    Dear Author: Your comparisons are misleading…Had this young Pakistani sport lover had raised flag as an Anti Pakistani act, his jailing for 10 years was probably palatable…Comparing this with miscreants in India who had to be treated was clearly a case of acting Anti India reasons…Hope the difference is crystal clear…If not just exchange the hats and think.Recommend

  • Pro Truth

    How did he get an Indian flag in Pakistan?Recommend

  • Nasir

    shame on u .. what ever is the point but no one should forget that Indian cricket is not allowed to play againt Pakistani team… they r killing us in schools and uni and u r worried for hoisting the Indian flag on a house? it shouldn’t be allowed on 1 pretext or the other.. v r at war with them….Recommend

  • Feroz

    When there is no law preventing flying any countries flag, how can anyone be prosecuted ?Recommend

  • Last Word

    I dont think anybody has been convicted in India hoisting Pakistan till date. It has happened hundreds of times in Kashmir and even other parts of India. Those arrested have been let off with a warning and nothing more. Hope, similar treatmen be given to Kohli’s fan in Pakistan who in his misplaced enthusiasm committed this mistake…Recommend

  • Sarwat

    ET will you please stop this non sense? Saying a country’s national flag is simply a piece of cloth shows how ignorant you can be! Complete non sense article by an ignorant confused person. Recommend

  • Gurion

    It’s one thing to be arrested if he did so with malevolent intentions but arresting him just for the sake of it is sheer ridiculousnessRecommend

  • abhi

    Fortunately this guy was a muslim, If he was an hindu doing this, he would have been lynched by mob.Recommend

  • BlackHat

    If they was a prize for being petty, we would win it hands down.Recommend

  • Analyzer

    @Faraz Talat
    Any person out 0f 1300Million Indian will put Pakistani Flag on
    his house he will spent his whole life behind bars, and would be
    treated as ISI agent

    Do you want to know why?
    Its a Military stand of with Invasion level Artellery , from the peaks of Siachen glacier to the shores of Indian ocean.Recommend

  • http://thoughtsandotherthing.blogspot.fr/2015/09/hyderabad-as-i-know-and-feel.html Supriya Arcot

    Take a few deep breaths .Recommend

  • rationalising argument.

    hey who is killing you at school? us or taliban? your strategic assets?Recommend

  • Bana Post

    stupidity at its maximumRecommend

  • Truth

    Total misleading article. Writer, you knows very well why he is arrested?Recommend

  • MJ

    Misleading headline … The guy was not arrested for supporting the Indian team but for hoisting the Indian flag. I am pretty sure he would not get any jail time, maybe a small fine. On similar lines 66 students in India were expelled from Swami Vivekanand Subharti University, in Meerut in March 2014, 10 of them were banned for life from entering any university. There crime, hoisting the Pakistani flag while watching a cricket match.Recommend

  • Kushal

    “A flag is a symbol of pride for a country , you do not raise a flag of another country on your house , especially if you always have had tense relations with that country.

    What do you think would have happened if an Indian had waved Pakistani flag in India ,arrest would have been the least of his worries,given Indian’s fetish for mob lynching.

    If you live in Pakistan ,you use Pakistan’s resources , you drink its water,you eat its food,you drive on its roads , then you owe your loyalty to Pakistan.”

    Next time dont cry if I personally gun down a terrorist for raising a flag of our enemy.Recommend

  • Ari C

    You comparisions are wrong because the context of raising the flags were different. The Karachi tailor’s motivation was Kohli and the Indian Cricket Team. Period. The people who raised Pakistani Flags in India were openly hostile to the India as a Nation.Recommend

  • Linux Novice

    Lol, mob lynching! In India it makes news headlines for years, in Pakistan it so routine that they are not even reported.Recommend

  • Linux Novice

    He is a tailor!Recommend

  • The Truth

    He was not even a Hindu in Pakistan raising an Indian flag. If that were the case the reaction would have been even more extreme including an immediate lynching. In case of India, all those were muslims.Recommend

  • Milind A

    You nailed it…. The miscreants in India who sport Pakistani flag do it mostly as an anti-Indian / anti-Hindu act…and to spite the majority Hindus or as an act to subvert the Indian state…Umar Daraz did it not to spite the majority in Pakistan, but because he was a fan of Kohli…

    On the surface both acts appear similar, but delving deeper one notices the intentions behind these… I’m surprised how the author of this blog, missed these subtleties.Recommend

  • Ramchand

    Bad grammar, undue spacing, spelling mistakes, now writing
    under Muslim name. One Muslim hating Indian.Recommend

  • Chitral wala

    Mimi ! Mimi ! Not so much hate and bile !
    It will give you an ulcer. That can be painful.
    Not good for the stomach. And digestion.
    It’s only a newspaper article. No need to
    get all riled up. Be cool. We love Hindus.
    Nothing to worry about. Easy. OK?Recommend

  • Patwari

    Maybe India can give him a citenzenship?
    Then he can cheer Uni-brow Kohli, all day long.
    Nice solution,….Mimi?Recommend

  • Fahad

    Total cr*p! How many supporters have Pakistan arrested? It’s not about supporting Indian team. It’s about hoisting its flag. And you comparing Hoisting of Pakistani flag in Kashmir with Hoisting Indian flag in Pakistan. Really! I mean Really!?Recommend

  • Alter Ego

    Those who incite mob violence can never become President or PM of Pakistan.Can the same be said for India who elected the butcher of Gujrat and destroyer of mosques?
    Many indian mainstream parties use Muslim Phobia of get votes , BJP and even Congress.
    Does Indian Press and world media report the atrocities committed by the Indinan forces in kashmir ?
    Wasn’t there a bounty some time before for slapping the face of Aamir khan ?
    I dont have to show you the interviews of high ranking officilas and ministers defending mob lynching.
    Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others.Recommend

  • Bibloo

    Same place, Punjab, Land of Sharifistan, where they beat,
    then hang, then burnt, a Christian couple to a crispy toast.
    While the police stood and watched. It was a small village.
    But in a big village, like Lahore, a rampaging mob, killed
    about 200 Christians, and the neighborhood, Joseph Colony
    went up in smoke. While the police stood and watched. Hey !
    The police even aided and abetted the mob.Recommend

  • DudeFromDC

    You love Hindus? When, after you forcefully convert them to your religion? Recommend

  • DudeFromDC

    And all of them were anti-India. Recommend

  • nitasha

    This is not the right comparison. Since every single single one in India who hoisted Pakistani flag was a muslim, there would only be an equivalence if you had Pakistani Hindus hoisting Indian flags on Pakistani soil… There is no point in talking about issues of human rights and politics in the subcontinent without talking about the role religion plays in this.Recommend

  • Muzammil Satti

    And by posting such a story on such a forum and deliberately exposing the bad picture of Pakistan I dont see you any different then that poor emotionally driven fella from some small town in punjab. Learn how to Love whats your own. Spread the good as well. But no who would be intrested in reading that right?Recommend

  • LS

    ISI propaganda is getting on you… I wonder why your government cannot share any evidence for it… Oh wait they said that Militants in were using medicines made in India that are imported by Pakistan and sold in your pharmacies… By that logic they were also wearing underwear made in Pakistan, batteries that were made in Japan and AK47 made in Russia.Recommend

  • LS

    He sewed it himself.Recommend

  • LS

    Faraz: An extremist should not be arrested for being anti Indian, hoisting Pakistani flag and singing Pakistani National Anthem?Recommend

  • Aayan Ayub

    Pakistanis are always better than Indians……we hate Indians very much that we don’t even like to see their faces…..and even their flag in our BEST Country…We also want Indians to stop screening Pakistani dramas…..
    Recommend

  • Ahmed Ayub

    Pakistanis are always right…… and dear Indians stop screening Pakistani dramas in your country.
    We also do not like indians,or their flag….that,s why we got them arrested who raised it….
    And we are proud of ourselves….
    Recommend

  • Agent Of Death

    LOL!!!Recommend

  • Nikhil Panikkar

    .LOL and Pakistan is a country where if one sings Junoon song with Hindustan in it, they have to face sedition charges. You know why? Pakistani Insecurity:D:D:D:D:D:D:DRecommend

  • Nasser

    The blogger intentionally ignores the real issue… it’s not about supporting Indian or Pakistani teams… it’s a all about hoisting each others flags on your roof tops. In India raising a green flag during a Muslim celeberation is treated as raising a Pakistani flag and an act of treason. where do you live my dear? Just visit the country and,see what happens in India if a Muslim raises a Pakistani flag.. he will be lynched to death. But headine of your blog clearly mentions,that this tendency persists in Pakistan only. Recommend

  • Laman Riaz

    Considering the tense relations not a very smart thing to do. If your that big a fan of Virat Kohli put up a picture of him instead of raising the Indian flagRecommend

  • Sridhar Kaushik

    Author is confused as most Pakistanis, with misplaced patriotism, are.
    Arresting an Indian with “suspected anti-national” activities (that came to light by flying a Pakistani flag) is not same as a cricket enthusiast who flies Indian flag because he admires its cricketer!Recommend

  • Sridhar Kaushik

    I would have been happier if Pakistani authorities had arrested and sentenced the cleric who influenced a teenager to cut off his arms for blasphemy.Recommend

  • Chitral wala

    Dude From DC? Had to attach DC to give credibility
    to your utterance? So, typical, of a confidence lacking
    race. Besides, rest assured, a hindu will rear up to pour
    hate on any comment, in this eNewspaper.
    Doubt you even know where DC is.
    [It’s next to Poona, District Chanderguptalakshmiramainabag]Recommend

  • DudeFromDC

    You need to pick up some basic debating etiquette and manners rather than vomit vile when you don’t have a valid response. Anyway, do you see the irony in your own comments, which kind of vets mine?Recommend

  • Sane

    In India if you support Pakistani team you will not be arrested…….but shall be killed on spot.Recommend

  • Sane

    No, such things do not happen here. You are saying this with a fanatic mindset. By the way how many more Muslims in India killed today for eating beef.Recommend

  • Chitral wala

    This is a debating society? Huh? Really? Etiquette?
    Have you perused the Hindu comments in these blogs?
    They call it the Hindu section of ET.
    Seems like a tsunami of hatred pouring from the Eastern
    Neighbor of Pakistan. Perpetually. Why call it Hindustan?
    Call it Hate Desh. Fits y’all like a glove. No truck there.
    Recommend

  • DudeFromDC

    Yeah, etiquette.. Something hard to find for you, may be.

    So, I presume you dont understand what irony means, which I don’t find surprising. Now, do you really think we give a moment’s thought about what you all think about us? Really??? Now, that’s quite insulting, I will give you that. Recommend

  • abhi

    The total count is less than the number of muslims get killed in Pakistan for praying in dargah.Recommend

  • Milind A

    Bad analysis.. focusing only on the superficiality of the writeup, while ignoring the gist of the message, now writing under Hindu name.. One Hindu hating Pakistani.Recommend

  • Milind A

    “Those who incite mob violence can never become President or PM of Pakistan.”

    They’re everywhere in your system… They don’t have to run for election… Your lawyers throw rose petals on killers, you PMs collude with the army to carry a genocide of East Pakistanis… what more. Atleast our PM who you’re alluding to went through proper trials, justice and was proven not guilty.. All the countries in the world agreed to it and are keen on mending fences with himRecommend

  • Gratgy

    None, thats more than we can say for Muslims being killed for not being true enough in the Land of the PureRecommend

  • Gratgy

    Tried reading the text, did not understand, so will criticize grammar instead of the content. Recommend

  • Gratgy

    Analyzer, please analyse your sentence and try to make sense of it. What is “a Military stand of with Invasion level Artellery”Recommend

  • Gratgy

    Maybe in your parallel universeRecommend

  • LS

    Stick to topic else keep quiet if you have nothing to contribute. We all know where hate is institutionalized and published as curriculum. There is no need for personal attacks. OP’s topic was flag hoisting… Stick to it. That is the ETIQUETTE of posting in comments.Recommend

  • Zain Abidin

    To put all the Indians comments to rest, rest assured, Not one Indian Hindu out of 0.8 Billion Indian Hindus would do, due to their extreme hatred of Pakistan, what this One Pakistani Taylor did in Pakistan, solely for the love of his Indian Cricket Legend, regardless of his Religion or Country of Origin. You show us such an example where an Indian Hindu would raise a Pakistani Flag on his House’s roof top for support of Saaed Ajmal, Akmal, Afridi, or anyone. OK, not even an Indian Muslim would do it, because of fear of being lynched or burned alive by RSS Hindu Talibans.Recommend

  • Sohail-bin-Qasim

    Title of this blog is inappropriate supporting Indian Cricket Team is no offense! Even i support Indian Cricket Team in several matches but one should not be that dumb to hoist an Indian flag on your house roof! 10 years jail is also inappropriate, instead judiciary should have ordered counseling sessions for him!Recommend

  • someone

    What a lie….none of those Kashmiri student was killed. Man…what can’t you use internet to google relevant facts before typing?Recommend

  • jay

    hahaah typical Pakistani ! talking about race when most of Pakistan are converted Hindu!Recommend

  • Bilal

    Why is the Pakistani flag mixed in with the Indian flagRecommend

  • alisherdil

    He is arrested n is in prison n soon b sentences Recommend