Controversial banners removed from Islamabad, suspect arrested
Islamabad police on Tuesday made arrests and removed from various areas of the capital dozens of banners inscribed with an anti-Pakistan statement from an Indian lawmaker.
The banners had stirred controversy and concern as pictures and videos of the inflammatory message inscribed on them were shared online.
The banners had featured a screenshot of a video recording of proceedings in India's Rajya Sabha [Council of States]. The text under the snapshot was an anti-Pakistan statement made by Indian lawmaker Sanjay Raut, who was also featured in the image.
It is unclear what message the banners were intended to portray, as, along with the inflammatory statement, they also featured a logo inscribed with the words 'Akhand Bharat Real Terror' (which roughly translates to: "[The ideology of] Undivided India is the real terrorism").
'Akhand Bharat' usually refers to the idea that all lands comprising Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Tibet, Bhutan and Bangladesh should be unified under one system of governance. The idea is today mainly favoured by Hindu nationalists and pushed by far-right outfits like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
A few hours after videos of the posters started doing the rounds, Islamabad police arrested a suspect from Blue Area who is believed to have been responsible for having placed the banners.
Police said the suspect, who is involved in the printing business, had received an order for the banners from another suspect, a resident of Gujranwala.
Police have sealed a printing press in Islamabad where the banners were believed to have been printed.
Intelligence agencies later took the suspect from police custody and shifted him to an undisclosed location for further interrogation.
The Kohsar Police Station had also received an application by a representative of the traders community, Sajid Iqbal Gujjar, seeking legal action against the suspect responsible for placing the banners.
Later in the day, Islamabad District Magistrate Hamza Shafqaat sought an explanation from the municipal administration over the incident and questioned the delay of over five hours in removing the banners.[caption id="attachment_29805" align="alignnone" width="800"] In this Dec. 15, 2014 photo, a suspect is arrested after Greater Manchester Police officers alongside partner agency teams from Rochdale Council, the Home Office and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, raided a picture framing factory in Rochdale, Northern England, as part of investigations into human trafficking and labor exploitation. Three men were arrested for enslavement and trafficking offenses in the operation. (AP Photo/Jon Super)[/caption]