December 9th, 2020
By Ahmed Saeed and Hamid Riaz
Muhammad Asif, popularly known as DJ Butt, on Wednesday was arrested by police from his office in Model Town on charges of possession of an unlicensed firearm ahead of Pakistan Democratic Movement public gathering in the city on December 13. The Model Town police also manhandled and threatened with arrest two reporters of Voicepk.net in the police station arriving there to obtain a copy of the first investigation report (FIR) against DJ Butt.
In a video message sent to journalists while he was being arrested, DJ Butt accused police of torturing and manhandling him. An assistant in his office, Asif, told Voicepk.net that police tortured DJ Butt and gave no reason for the arrest.
Journalists manhandled by Model Town police
Police also misbehaved and manhandled two reporters from Voicepk.net when they visited the Model Police Station to cover the arrest of DJ Butt, who was to provide the sound system for the opposition PDM’s gathering at Minar-e-Pakistan ground on Sunday. Azhar Naveed, Station House Officer (SHO) of Model Town Police Station, misbehaved with the reporters, directing police officials to take away their cell phones besides manhandling and threatening them. Police officials refused to tell the reporters about the charges against him. SHO Azhar Naveed told the reporters that DJ Butt was detained on orders of ‘superior officials’ and they risked losing their jobs if he was not detained. Police officials said that the FIR had not been registered at the time. Police officials deleted data on the reporters’ cell phones. Police also threatened to arrest the reporters.
In a tweet in the evening, SP Operations Model Town Division, Capt (r) Dost Muhammad, claimed that DJ Butt resisted a police team that has reached Bank Square in Model Town on the report of violation of the Sound Act. Police officials found a 12-bore unlicensed gun and bullets upon body search of DJ Butt. Dost Muhammad claimed that DJ Butt had failed to produce any license or permit for the gun, adding that he was arrested on charges of possession of an unlicensed firearm. The tweet shows a picture of DJ Butt wearing a mask standing next to the table of the SP Operations in his office with a gun placed on the table.
بنک سکوائر مارکیٹ پر دوران گشت ساونڈ ایکٹ کی خلاف ورزی پر ماڈل ٹاؤن پولیس ٹیم پہنچی تو ڈی جےبٹ نامی شخص نے پولیس ٹیم کے ساتھ مزاحمت کی، دوران تلاشی ملزم کے قبضہ سے ایک بندوق 12 بور اور گولیاں برآمد، ملزم بندوق کا کوئی لائسنس یا اجازت نامہ مہیا نا کر سکا، ملزم کیخلاف مقدمہ درج pic.twitter.com/HEuXz7ZaGt
— SP Model Town (Ops) (@spmodeltown) December 9, 2020
DJ Butt became hugely popular when he played party songs at the Pakistan Tehrik Insaf sit-in in 2014. Recently, he was doing the same for the PDM country-wide protest gatherings. He was expected to provide the sound system for the PDM gathering in Lahore on Sunday.
The arrest of DJ Butt comes on the heel of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Lahore a few days ago. The premier had hinted at legal action against all those facilitating the opposition public gatherings. Interestingly, DJ Butt was arrested for providing a sound system to then opposition PTI gatherings in 2014. On that occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan had strongly condemned the arrest by calling it a gross injustice.
Opposition leaders widely condemned DJ Butt’s arrest saying the government was baffled in the wake of the PDM gathering in the city on December 13.
HRCP, journalists manhandling condemned
Journalists, right activists, and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slammed police for manhandling reporters of Voicepk.net.“ We condemn the physical assault on two young journalists of Voicepk.net by Lahore police,” said Munizae Jahangir, senior anchorperson. She said the reporters were abused when they reached Model Town police station to obtain a copy of the FIR lodged against DJ Butt, adding that the police threatened to imprison them for reporting.
We condemn the physical assault on 2 young journalists of .@voicepkdotnet by Lahore police.They were abused when they reached Model Town police station to obtain a copy of the FIR lodged against #DJButt.Police threatened to imprison them for reporting. #StopSilencingJournalists pic.twitter.com/wv0Ei5XCP8
— Munizae Jahangir (@MunizaeJahangir) December 9, 2020
In a tweet, Hamid Mir condemned the manhandling calling it ‘a shameful act of Lahore police against media freedom’.
Shameful act of Lahore police against media freedom @pressfreedom @RSF_inter @pressfreedompk @pfujpakistan @freepressunltd @amnestysasia @hrw @UNHumanRights https://t.co/ftW1S2r81f
— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) December 9, 2020
In a tweet, HRCP strongly condemned the craven attempt to intimidate Voicepk.net reporters during a visit to Model Town police station to obtain an FIR. “Their phones were seized, and they were forced to enter their passwords and delete files on their devices,” the HRCP said. The HRCP said that the reporters were also threatened with arrest on no grounds whatsoever. “To bully young journalists on assignment in this manner is deplorable and reflects the state’s constant, heavy-handed attempts to curtail press freedom,” the HRCP said in its tweet.
HRCP strongly condemns the craven attempt to intimidate @voicepkdotnet reporters earlier today during their visit to a police station in Model Town, Lahore, to obtain an FIR copy. Their phones were seized, and they were forced to enter their passwords… 1/2@MunizaeJahangir
— Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (@HRCP87) December 9, 2020