Abuzar Madhu, an artist from Pakistan, was arrested by the Punjab Police in Lahore earlier in June and had to “spend a night” in Model Town police station inside a lock-up. “Reason, his long hair,” his friend, Twitter user Natasha Javed said in a thread on the micro-blogging site.
“Abuzar is an artist and a teacher. He was waiting for a rickshaw near Kalma Chawk when a police van stopped him. They asked for his ID card, which luckily he had. He showed the ID card. The police officer then asked others to put him in the police van ‘Ainu Gaddi wich Pao,'” Natasha Javed said.
After Abuzar asked the officer about the issue, he attributed it to his “hulia” or appearance, “lambay baal” or long hair, precisely. The officer told Abuzar that the arrest was made also because “he is out on the street at 3am.”
“Abuzar asked the officer what the issue was. The officer continued to threaten and scare him by saying that he will find out the issue once he reaches the police station. That the issue was his ‘Hulia’/appearance, his ‘lambay Baal’ and that he is out on the street at 3am. Abuzar kept explaining that he is a teacher and an artist. However, the police harassment did not stop, and they forced him to sit in the van, and he was taken to the police station,” Natasha Javed added.
“At the police station, they checked him and his bag. They found nothing except a few books. The officer who checked him asked ‘thaanaydar Saifullah’ to let him go at his pint (sic.). But, no. He didn’t agree and instead asked his junior to put Abuzar in the lock-up. He insisted that he wanted to teach Abuzar a lesson for his long hair and appearance. That a night in jail would be good for him to know that he dare not look the way he chooses to. Abuzar reached out to friends through Facebook to seek legal support before his phone was taken,” Natasha Javed said.
Abuzar’s friends came to his rescue the following day after the artist spent the night in jail. Natasha Javed was furious as she questioned, “This is how easy it is for someone to misuse their power to harass and bully a teacher, an artist, a law-abiding citizen.”
“Abuzar spent the night in lock-up before his friends got him out the next day. Why was he arrested? Police officer Saifullah knew that he can bully Abuzar because he was looking for a rickshaw and not sitting in a private car. That he could harass him without facing consequences. I am furious. This is how easy it is for someone to misuse their power to harass and bully a teacher, an artist, a law-abiding citizen. Saifullah will likely face no consequences for misusing his position. Why are our institutions that are running from our taxes and meant to protect actually operating to threaten us?”
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