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It is the dark side of India-Pakistan cricket rivalry as a Pakistani die hard fan of Indian batsman Virat Kohli is facing up to 10 years imprisonment after being arrested for hoisting the Indian flag 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 T20I match where Virat Kohli scored 90 runs. Local 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 the Pakistan Penal Code and 16 Maintenance of Public against him. Police registered a case under the section The section 123-A (acts of damaging the sovereignty of the country) carries a 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 an 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 the 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 and Kohli’s posters and pictures.