A 22-year-old Pakistani fan of Indian cricketer Virat Kohli is facing 10-year jail sentence in his country after he hoisted the Indian flag atop his house.
A resident of Punjab province, Umar Draz could not hide his ecstasy when India beat Australia in the first T20 international on 26 January with Kohli playing an impressive innings of 90 runs in the match.
A tailor by profession in Punjab’s Okara district, Draz hoisted an Indian tricolour to express his love for the cricketer.
Soon, the police raided his house, seized the flag and posters of Kohli from his possession. Draz was later produced before a district court on Wednesday and sent to jail on judicial remand.
PTI reported that the police had 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 his decision to hoist the flag was only to show his love for Kohli.
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.”
Draz 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.”