Islamabad/Karachi, 20 Oct. 2020 (Express Tribune)
Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa has ordered an inquiry into the ‘Karachi incident’ that led to registration of a first information report (FIR) against PML-N’s Capt. (Retd) Muhammad Safdar and his subsequent arrest during a visit to Sindh provincial capital.
“Taking notice of the Karachi incident, the COAS (Chief of the Army Staff) has directed the Karachi Corps Commander to immediately inquire into the circumstances to determine the facts and report back as soon as possible,” said a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Tuesday.
The development came after Peoples Party of Pakistan, Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, while addressing a news conference, requested the army chief and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed to investigate how the Sindh police chief was pressured into registering a case against the PML-N leader.
In a high drama, Capt. (Retd) Safdar – the son-in-law of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif — was arrested from the hotel room of his wife Maryam Nawaz in Karachi on Monday morning for allegedly disrespecting the mausoleum of the Founder of the Nation, only to be released by a court hours later.
Safdar, who was in Karachi along with his wife Maryam Nawaz to attend the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) rally, had allegedly chanted slogans at the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah when he paid a visit to the place on Sunday along with other party leaders ahead of the rally.
“Police broke my room door at the hotel I was staying at in Karachi and arrested Capt. Safdar,” the PML-N vice president tweeted soon after Safdar’s arrest, setting off a political storm.
The PDM leaders had termed it an attempt by the federal government and its agencies, which “kidnapped the provincial police chief and forced him into signing the arrest order”.
Soon after the arrest, former Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair – who is also the spokesperson of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz – appeared on some TV channels to claim that Sindh Inspector General Police (IGP) Mushtaq Mahar was coerced into arresting Safdar.
Referring to his conversation with Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Zubair had claimed that Sindh police chief Mushtaq Mahar was kidnapped by Rangers at 4 in the morning and brought to a military office where he was forced to issue the orders for the arrest.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Sindh police thanked army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa for “realising the sense of hurt that prevailed within a uniformed force, and for promptly ordering an inquiry into the matter, which he has also assured will be impartial in order to restore the prestige of the Sindh police”.
The Sindh police also thanked PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah for showing solidarity with the police force.