NAROWAL: A family protested against the special magistrate here in Sialkot on Sunday, accusing him of blackmailing the bridegroom and his family during the wedding ceremony.

The mehndi event celebrating the wedding of Muhammad Faisal from Ajmal Garden of Sialkot was taking place at the Saira Marriage Hall in Shahabpura.

Naib Tehsildar Sajid Iqbal, as special magistrate from the district administration, conducted a surprise visit to the marriage hall to inspect the alleged violation of the one-dish rule. With the presence of one dish, a few women guests were eating Golgapay at the event. According to guest Muhammad Afzal, the special magistrate and naib qasid Muhammad Arsalan insisted that the groom go to the police station for violating the one-dish rule during the ceremony.

Family members at the ceremony argued that the women were eating Golgapay bought from outside the marriage hall. The special magistrate reportedly threatened to seal the hall.

Later, a purported deal was reached between the special magistrate and the wedding hall manager Usman Yaqoob, in which Yaqoob got Rs10,000 as bribes from the groom’s family and delivered it to the magistrate.

As the special magistrate was leaving after allegedly accepting a bribe, guests at the ceremony intercepted his car. They accused him of blackmail and bribery. Footage of the exchange and accusations of bribery between Mr Iqbal the guests was posted on social media platforms.

Mr Iqbal refuted the bribery allegations, labeling them as baseless.

The deputy commissioner said that an FIR has been registered against the marriage hall owner. He said that the district administration would not permit any violation of the one-dish rule and schedule.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2023

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