Reprinted from the Indian Express
A Pakistani die-hard fan of Indian batsman Virat Kohli is facing up to 10 years imprisonment after being arrested for hoisting the Indian tri-colour atop his home in Punjab Province which he had done to show his love for the cricketer.
22-year-old Umar Draz, a tailor by profession from Okara district of Punjab province, was on Wednesday produced before a district court that sent him to jail on judicial remand.
Draz was arrested on January 26 when India beat Australia in a T20 match in which Kohli scored 90 runs. Police raided Draz home on a complaint that he hoisted the Indian flag on the rooftop of his house.
Police registered a case under section 123-A of Pakistan Penal Code and 16 Maintenance of Public Order against him.
The section 123-A (acts of damaging the sovereignty of the country) carries maximum punishment of 10 years in jail or fine or both.
Draz pleaded before the judge that he hoisted the Indian flag only for his love for Kohli.
Police had sought his physical remand for investigation into the case, however, the judge sent him to jail on judicial remand.
Earlier, talking to reporters, Draz said, “I am a big fan of Virat Kohli. I support the Indian team because of Kohli. Hoisting of Indian flag on the rooftop of house only shows my love for the Indian cricketer.”
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.”
Poster size photographs of Kohli were also found pasted on the walls of his house.
Police seized the flag along with Kohli’s posters and pictures.