There are probably thousands of fans of Virat Kohli all over the world. So it is no wonder that he has a fan in Pakistan too. But being a fan of an Indian cricketer in Pakistan is almost as troublesome as being a fan of a Pakistani cricketer in India is.
The police in Okara district of Pakistan’s Punjab province arrested a fan of the swashbuckling Indian batsman.
A file photo of Virat Kohli. Image used for representational purposes.
Identified as Umar Draz, the man is accused of hoisting the Indian tricolour on the roof of his house on Tuesday, coincidentally the very day India celebrated its 67th Republic Day.
According to a Pakistani daily, the police raided Draz’s home following complaints from neighbours who saw the Indian flag flying in the neighbourhood. In his defence Draz said, “I am a big fan of Virat Kohli. I support the Indian team because of Kohli. Hoisting the Indian flag on the rooftop of house only shows my love for the Indian cricketer.”
He has been charged under the Maintenance of Public Order and has been presented in court. The court remanded him to police custody.
India and Pakistan national flags held by dancers before an ICC World Twenty20 final match in Johannesburg in 2007. REUTERS/ REUTERS/UNI
Draz has claimed that he was unaware that hoisting an Indian flag in Pakistan is a crime. Apologising for his action, he said that he was merely the fan of Virat Kohli and not a spy. Police have also found posters of Kohli pasted on the walls of Draz’s house.
There are many in India who are fans of Pakistani cricketers and can be spotted waving the flag of the country during an India-Pakistan encounter on the cricket field. No one, however, is arrested for the same by Indian authorities.
Arrests are made only when Pakistani flags are hoisted as a sign of protest against the Indian government. Recently, a proposed India-Pakistan bilateral series was cancelled because of concerns raised by both Indian and Pakistani government, though both the BCCI and the PCB were optimistic about it.