LONDON: A pro-Imran slogan was spray painted on the wall of Stanhope House, the building where former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s son Hussain has an office, on Monday, in an act that constitutes ‘criminal vandalism’ under UK law.
On Monday evening, a ‘die-hard’ supporter of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, British Pakistani Shayan Ali posted a photo on social media where he could be seen stood against the boundary wall, which was spray painted with the words: “You can’t kill IK chor”.
The phrase is being construed by many on social media as being targeted to the Sharifs, whom Mr Ali has for months been heckling and confronting outside their home, office and public places.
The slogan appeared just days after Mr Khan was shot and injured by a gun wielding critic at his rally in Wazirabad.
Mr Ali was briefly detained by Met Police officers last month when a PTI protest outside Avenfield House, where Nawaz Sharif resides, went out of control. Mr Ali is routinely seen outside Avenfield House and Stanhope House, shouting anti-Nawaz slogans.
In one recent video circulating on social media, residents of Dunraven Street who live nearby Avenfield House are seen pleading with Mr Ali and his peers, begging them to stop using bad language on their doorstep and that they have children at home. “It’s not fair,” the woman pleaded with the pro-Imran supporters, looking tearful. “We pay so much money to live in a good neighbourhood.”
Below Mr Ali’s tweet about the graffiti outside Stanhope House, some Twitter users praised him, however, others pointed out that his action falls under criminal vandalism in the UK.
Under the Criminal Damage Act 1971, a person caught doing graffiti can face a prison sentence of up to ten years or fined if the damage costs more than £5,000.
If the damage caused is less than £5,000, an offender could face three months in prison or a fine of £2,500. Offenders can also be prosecuted under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act, 2003.
However, there was no word on whether a complaint or charges had been filed, till the filing of this report.
Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2022