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Friday, May 31, 2024  
22 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

Pakistani actor arrested for making threats, praying on flight in Australia

Malaysia airline flight had to return to Sydney after take off, other flights cancelled
Photo via social media
Photo via social media

Muhammad Ali Arif, 55, a dual Pakistani-Australian was charged by Australian Federal Police on Tuesday after he allegedly claimed to have explosives on board a Malaysia Airlines flight, forcing it to return to Sydney, Daily Mail reported.

Police charged Arif for making a false statement about a threat to damage the plane and for failing to comply with the cabin crew’s safety instructions, the Australian Federal Police said in a statement.

The offences carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of over $9,730.

Flight MH122 left Sydney on Monday afternoon for Malaysia and returned to Sydney about three hours later after the passenger “allegedly became disruptive” during the flight, police said.

The authorities evacuated the passengers and crew from the plane once it was deemed safe and the man was arrested without incident.

In a video shot by a passenger, Arif is seen offering prayer in the middle of the plane, while other passengers look on from a distance.

Saad Kaiser, a commentator on X, said that the man has made it harder for other Muslims by his action to disturb other passengers.

“Sydney Airport. Islam has always made it easy for muslims to pray during travelling (praying while sitting), while this uncle literally made it harder for other muslims,” he wrote.

He was expected to appear in court on Tuesday. However, Arif refused to leave his cell at Surry Hills police station to come before the court, with magistrate Greg Grogin saying: “They will have to extract him if he is to come before the court,” Guardian reported.

The matter was adjourned to Wednesday, while the court refused the bail formally.

Now, The Current has said that the man is a former Pakistani model and actor Muhammad Arif Ali, claiming that it was confirmed by multiple sources.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Arif graduated from NCA in 2002. He worked as an architect at a number of firms in Karachi and Lahore from 2002-2016.

Arif featured in Pakistani singer Abrar-ul-Haq’s song, “Preeto”. He also played a part in the Pakistani sitcom “Kollege Jeans” directed by Jawad Bashir.

Most of his entertainment industry friends say that they have lost contact with him.

Thirty-two domestic flights were cancelled and other domestic flights were delayed by up to 90 minutes due to the incident, Sydney Airport said. There were no international flight cancellations.

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Muhammad Ali Arif

Australian Federal Police