Public Indecency & FIRs: Dance Party at Malam Jabba

A viral video of the Harvest Festival in Malam Jabba surfaced on the web, however, authorities termed the dance party as an act of vulgarity and issued FIRs

As the dance and electronic music culture rises in Pakistan, it has brought forward many complications. In recent events, a video of a group of people dancing to the beat in Malam Jabba surfaced on the internet.

A viral video of people dancing in the open air at the Harvest Festival in Swat’s Malam Jabba area sprung the authorities into a frenzy which led to several FIRs being issued and the owner and manager of the hotel were arrested where the event was organized.

According to the police, not only vulgarity was on display at the hotel premises but there was also a failure to follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) against the ongoing coronavirus. The hotel hosted an event called Harvest Festival Pakistan from December 3rd to 6th last year, 2020.

The first information report (FIR), in which the police served as a complainant, claimed that “accused Fazal Khan Afridi and Husnain Ihsan provided lodging to a group of students on January 4th”. “They also provided loudspeakers to 30 to 40 guests who did not follow Covid-19 SOPs as well as engaged in the vulgar acts, video proof of which, went viral on social media,” it added. The suspects have been booked under section 294 of the 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 also said that the group of students visited Malam Jabba to see snowfall and also arranged a dance party.

Moreover, as the video footage of the dance party in Malam Jabba went viral, The President of the Swat Traders Association condemned the act and issues statements in the media against such events.

Upon the issuance of such statements, the police acted accordingly and carried out a raid in the said hotel. However, this case of public indecency in Malam Jabba could cause tarnish the provincial government’s efforts to promote winter tourism in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Furthermore, this FIR under section 294 PPC caused large public resentment because what was otherwise seen as a normal dance party by young-adults in Malam Jabba, was forcefully turned into something ‘vulgar’ or an act of ‘public indecency.’

Journalists took to Twitter to express their annoyance over the issuance of the FIRs and warned the tourists that no fun is allowed in Pakistan anymore. Minor dances could get you into jail as well.

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