Fact-Check: Artist Behind Controversial Photoshoot Has Not Been Arrested

Fact-Check: Artist Behind Controversial Photoshoot Has Not Been Arrested
Islamabad: An artist whose photo with Islamabad policemen was shared on social media after the latter claimed to have arrested him for a controversial photoshoot in front of Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah's portrait was never arrested, it has emerged.

A team from Islamabad Police returned to the federal capital empty-handed as the artist had obtained a pre-arrest bail (BBA) from Lahore High Court (LHC), according to an official of the Koral Police Station.

Earlier, Islamabad police claimed that a team of Koral Police Station conducted a raid in Lahore after receiving reports about the whereabouts of Zulfiqar Mannan, who along with a female model, had taken part in a photo shoot that sparked anger among right wing inflentials on social media.

The SHO at Koral Police Station confirmed the bail before arrest, obtained by the accused Zulfiqar. Moreover, the SHO added that authorities are currently tracing the whereabouts of the female accused.

A case had been registered on the complaint of a citizen named Rashid Malik in Koral Police Station. The FIR stated that the duo had taken pictures in “revealing dresses” in front of the portrait of the country’s founder, and thereafter made these photos viral on social media.

This case has been registered under Article 294 of the Pakistan Penal Code. According to this section, if a person is found guilty of “committing immoral acts or uttering obscene words in a public place,” they can be sentenced to a maximum of three months imprisonment or a fine.

Police had earlier posted pictures of the accused on social media, eliciting some condemnation from conservative commentators.

A number of voices on social media had also tweeted in solidarity with the accused, using the hashtag #freezulfi - arguing that the government had failed to crack down on serious crimes such as murder and rape, and were instead busy in moral policing. Many said that his photoshoot was a work of art and should be seen as such.