Four people were arrested in Multan on Thursday for their involvement in delivering hate speech of sectarian nature and defaming members of the government, a private TV channel reported quoting police.The action was taken over a speech delivered by one of the apprehended suspects at a mosque in Multan’s Ali Town on December 28 last year. In the speech made through a loudspeaker, the primary suspect allegedly incited the audience’s religious emotions by issuing statements of sectarian nature and provoked them against the government of Pakistan and incumbent rulers, according to the first information report (FIR) of the incident, registered on the complaint of a police official against six named and 40-45 unidentified people. Four out of the six named persons have been arrested.According to the FIR, the nominated persons were spreading ‘sectarianism and bigotry’ along with the main accused and raising slogans against the government. Two of the suspects recorded videos of the alleged hate speech through their mobile phones and later uploaded them onto Facebook and other social media. The case against the nominated suspects has been registered under sections 500 (defamation), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 109 (abetment with an accused) of the Pakistan Penal Code, 14 and 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order, and 3/6 of the Punjab Sound Systems (Regulation) Ordinance, 2015. The arrests come a day after Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced that a crackdown against hate speech on social media was on the cards.Published in Daily Times, February 15th 2019.