Two men were detained and assaulted by policemen in the Pakistani capital for having a soft drink at a popular tourist spot during the period of fasting in the Islamic holy month of Ramzan.
The two men – Anwar Abbas and Malik Saeed – were detained while they were having a soft drink inside a car at Daman-e-Koh, a viewpoint overlooking Islamabad, on Friday afternoon.
The incident was reported to Islamabad police chief Bani Yamin, who assured action will be taken against the officials involved in the incident, the Dawn newspaper reported today.
Abbas said: "I was not fasting and knowing that it would be ethically incorrect to have a drink in front of people, I chose a place where no one was present."
In the meantime, a police constable came and said taking drinks during fasting is a violation of the Ramazan Act and a serious crime.
He said he told the constable that he was not fasting and was having the drink at an isolated place where no one was present.
"I also told him that it was not their job to stop anyone from eating during the time of fasting but the constable insisted that he has to implement the teachings of Islam," Abbas said.
The constable called two more policemen and they took Abbas and Saeed to a nearby police post.
After a heated argument, the policemen "removed their belts and started beating us", Abbas said.
After a while, when the policemen felt the situation was getting out of control, they let the two men go.
The men reported the matter to the Kohsar police station and to Islamabad police chief Bani Yamin, who assured them that action would be taken against the policemen.
Abbas said police officials had started offering apologies and their seniors were approaching him to withdraw the complaint.
An unnamed police officer said the action of the policemen was against the law and ethics.
"We condemn when Taliban do the same act but now police are doing it in the federal capital, which shows the presence of hardliners in the law enforcement agencies," he said.
Former Islamabad Distract Bar Association general secretary Riasat Ali Azad said there was no provision in the Pakistan Penal Code that prohibited eating at public places.
"It is a religious and moral obligation of a citizen to avoid eating but police cannot restrict them by force. Just like it is our duty to say prayers five times a day but police cannot force any person to go to the mosque," he said.
Police chief Bani Yamin said he had ordered an inquiry into the incident.
He said he had been informed by police officers that both the complainants are ready to compromise.
"If the complainants withdraw their application, the case will be closed," he said.