Cleric in KP arrested after threatening Nobel laureate

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A Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cleric from the Lakki Marwat district, Mufti Sardar Ali Haqqani, has been placed under arrest for purportedly threatening violence against Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai over her recent comments on marriage.

“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?” Malala had said during an interview with Vogue earlier.

The arrest of Mufti Haqqani had taken place on Wednesday, the Lakki Marwat District police office confirmed, adding that the cleric was arrested after an FIR was registered against him under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

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

According to the FIR, a video went viral on social media showing Mufti Sardar – who was armed at the time –  instigating people at a gathering in Peshawar to take the law into their own hands and attack Malala.

“When Malala comes to Pakistan I will be the first to attempt a suicide attack on her,” the FIR quoted him as saying, adding that the speech had threatened peace and incited lawlessness.

It added that the mufti did not file an application in any legal forum and took the law into his hands. After the FIR was registered, a police team raided a house and arrested him.

Recently, Malala’s views on marriage also echoed in the KP Assembly, with members of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal urging her family to clarify their position on the issue.

The issue was raised by a PPP lawmaker from Upper Dir district, Sahibzada Sanaullah, on a point of order.

Saying Malala’s interview to Vogue had been circulating on the mainstream and social media for some days, he demanded the government probe whether the education activist really made those marriage remarks or not.

The member insisted that life partnership was not allowed in any religion and if Malala favoured it, then the stand was condemnable. “She [Malala] should clarify if she has not made that statement,” said the lawmaker, who had quit the Jamaat-e-Islami to join the PPP.