A viral dance party video, Malam Jabba and 'public indecency'

Twitter storm after Swat hotel owner arrested over 'vulgarity, failure to follow SOPs'


Our Correspondent January 07, 2021

PESHAWAR:

Pakistan's burgeoning electronic dance music culture has hit several snags since it emerged in the country, a group of people flailing their hands and moving to the beat has been deemed to be too edgy by certain quarters.

 

A viral video of students dancing in the open air at a musical festival in Swat's Malam Jabba neighbourhood sprung authorities into action. Subsequently, they arrested the hotel owner and manager where the event was organised.

Police said that not only vulgarity was on display at the hotel premises but there was also a failure to follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) against the novel coronavirus.

The hotel hosted an event called Harvest Festival Pakistan from December 3 to 6 last year.

The first information report (FIR), in which the police served as a complainant, stated that "accused Fazal Khan Afridi and Husnain Ihsan provided lodging to a group of students on January 4".

“They also provided loudspeakers to 30 to 40 guests who did not follow Covid-19 SOPs as well as engaged in the vulgar acts, footage of which, went viral on social media,” it added.

The suspects have been booked under section 294 of Pakistan Penal Code, which deals with obscene acts or singing in public which is punishable with three months behind bars along with a hefty fine.

Local residents told The Express Tribune that the group of students visited Malam Jabba to see snowfall and also arranged a dance party.

When footages of the party went viral, the president of the Swat Traders Association and other locals condemned the act, as well as, issued statements in the media against such events.

The local police then acted promptly and carried out a raid on the hotel.

The case could cause tarnish the provincial government's efforts to promote winter tourism in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The FIR under section 294 PPC caused an outcry on social media platforms as police was blamed of turning a normal dance on the part of some youngsters into a ‘vulgar act’

The District Police Officer (DPO) Swat was unavailable to comment on this issue.

Social media fury

As visuals of the dance party went viral netizens heavily criticised the authorities concerned for deeming the event which was a public display of vulgarity.

Journalist Najma Minhas wrote on the microbogging site Twitter, saying that "be warned tourists - no fun allowed when touring Pakistan".

 

Another user shared the video with the caption," Not London or New York this is Malam Jabba".

 

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