MULTAN: Multan police have arrested four persons on charges of uploading an “objectionable” speech against Prime Minister Imran Khan on social media.

Seetal Mari police arrested Maulana Abdul Rauf Yazdani, Hanzala, Waqas and Abdul Qahaar on Thursday after lodging a case (FIR No 172/19) under sections 500, 506 and 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), sections 14 and 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) 1960 and 3/16 of the Punjab Sound System Ordinance 2015, on Feb 13.

The FIR was lodged on the complaint of Muhammad Ilyas, a security officer at Seetal Mari police station, who stated that he was informed that Maulana Yazdani, a resident of Azizpura, Shahpur Khiyali, Gujranwala, was delivering a hate speech on loudspeaker at the Jamia Masjid Yousaf Ahl-i-Hadees in Ali Town, Multan, to instigate the people, using objectionable language against the Pakistan government and the prime minister.

He alleged that six others -- Hanzala, his father Abdul Pahaar, Abdul Sattar, mosque caretaker Muhammad Jamil, prayer leader Khalid Mahmood Shah, Qari Muhammad Farooq and Waqas -- besides 40-45 other unidentified people also joined Maulana Yazdani in spreading sectarianism. He alleged that the suspects were also chanting slogans against the government.

He stated that two of the suspects – Abdul Qahaar and Hanzla – were recording the whole activity with their mobile phone cameras, and later made the copies of the recording through computer at their shop. The suspects then uploaded the video on social media, he added.

The police on Thursday arrested the four suspects.

He said Maulna Yazdani also criticised the prime minister for announcing a “plan to establish 1,100 cinemas” across the country and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry for “defending drinking”. He also criticised a proposal to table a bill for allocation of quota for the non-Muslims in Islamic studies teachers’ jobs, the complainant added.

He said the Maulana also asked the audience to upload his speech on social media.

A few days earlier, the Multan police had arrested three youths who participated in a demonstration on the call of Pushtoon Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) chief Manzoor Pashteen on Feb 5 over the killing of an activist Arman Loni.

The police lodged the FIR (No 110/19) under sections 153-A/123-A, 124-A/290 and 291 of the Pakistan Penal Code, Section 6 of the Punjab Sound System Act 2015 and Section 16 of the MPO on Feb 9.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2019

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