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Pak cleric threatens to kill Malala, arrested

By Sajjad Hussain
June 10, 2021 23:20 IST
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A Muslim cleric in northwest Pakistan has been arrested under the tough anti-terrorism act for threatening to kill Malala Yousafzai in a suicide attack and instigating people against the Nobel Laureate for her recent comments on marriage, police said.

 

IMAGE: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai in Tokyo, Japan. Photograph: Frank Robichon /Pool via Reuters

Mufti Sardar Ali Haqqani, a cleric, was arrested in Lakki Marwat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Wednesday, Dawn newspaper reported on Thursday, quoting Lakki Marwat District Police Office.

In an interview to Vogue magazine in its latest edition, 23-year-old Malala, an Oxford graduate and a Pakistani activist for girls education who miraculously survived a bullet to the head from the militant Taliban in October 2012, revealed that she is not sure if she will ever marry.

"I still don't understand why people have to get married. If you want to have a person in your life, why do you have to sign marriage papers, why can't it just be a partnership?" she told the magazine.

The cleric belongs to the Nowshera area of the province but was visiting Pizo in Lakki Marwat when nabbed by the police.

He had apparently escaped from there to avoid arrest.

Haqqani was charged for under section of 16 Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) act and section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act.

Station House Officer Wasim Sajjad Khan is the complainant in the case, the report said.

Sajjad told the media that Lakki Marwat police went into action after it was tipped about the presence of the cleric in the district.

According to the first information report, a video went viral on social media showing Mufti Sardar instigating people at a gathering in Wahid Ghari area of Peshawar to take the law into their own hands and attack Malala.

He was armed when the incident took place, the report said.

'When Malala comes to Pakistan, I will be the first to attempt a suicide attack on her,' according to the FIR registered at Pizo police station in Lakki Marwat.

The video of the speech inciting violence went viral on social media with many people urging the government to take action against him.

The complaint further said that the cleric's speech had threatened peace and incited lawlessness, according to the news report.

Malala's remarks caused a storm in the conservative Pakistan and her home in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where women are seldom seen in public without a Muslim veil or a male guardian.

Recently, her views on marriage also echoed in the provincial assembly with Opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker Sahibzada Sanaullah demanding the government to probe whether she really made those remarks on marriage remarks as life partnership was not allowed in any religion and if she favoured it, then the stand was condemnable.

The PPP and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, an alliance of religious-political parties, also urged her family to clarify their position on the issue, the report said.

In February, a Pakistani Taliban militant, who had allegedly shot Yousafzai, had threatened her, saying that next time, 'there would be no mistake'.

Haqqani made headlines last year when he mocked COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SoPs) in another video which resulted in his arrest by Nowshera police. He was released later.

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Sajjad Hussain
Source: PTI© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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