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Pak Army Chief orders immediate probe into arrest of PML-N leader Safdar Awan

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Islamabad | October 21, 2020 1:12:24 AM IST
Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has ordered an immediate inquiry into the arrest of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Mohammad Safdar Awan in Karachi.

Citing the statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Dawn reported that Bajwa on Tuesday has directed the Karachi Corps Commander to "immediately inquire into the circumstances to determine the facts and report back as soon as possible".

The statement came minutes after Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari asked General Bajwa and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Faiz Hameed to probe into the circumstances that led to the incident.

"Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa called the Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party @BBhuttoZardari over the telephone to discuss the Karachi incident this evening," the PPP said in an official tweet.

The police on Monday early morning had arrested Safdar Awan, the husband of Maryam Nawaz Sharif, from the hotel they were staying in Karachi, hours after the PML-N vice-president lashed out at Prime Minister Imran Khan and the PTI government at second power show of 11-party opposition alliance People's Democratic Movement (PDM) which was attended by thousands of people.

"Police broke my room door at the hotel I was staying at in Karachi and arrested Capt. Safdar," Maryam tweeted early Monday.

He was later released on bail.

Dawn quoted Bilawal as saying at a press conference in Karachi, all top officers of Sindh Police were wondering "who were the people who surrounded" the Sindh police chief's house in the early hours of Monday and took him to an unspecified location before Safdar was arrested.

Condemning the arrest, the PPP leader said that the manner of arrest of Safdar was "wrong" and could scar the Army's "institutional integrity".

Following Safdar's arrest, a purported voice message by PML-N leader and former Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair was shared by a journalist in which Zubair alleged that the inspector general of police was kidnapped and forced to register the first information report against Maryam, her husband Safdar and 200 others for violating the sanctity of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's mausoleum, Dawn reported.

"When they (police) refused to do that, Rangers kidnapped [the IGP]," Zubair said.

Maryam was also quoted as saying that the Sindh police chief was forcibly "taken to the sector commander's office and asked to sign on the arrest orders".

"I am ashamed [and] unable to show my face over what has taken place in my province," Dawn quoted Bilawal as saying after the incident.

He further said that several top Sindh Police officers were "resigning or going on leave" as the incident has become a "question of their honour".

He also vowed that the Sindh government will continue with their demand for a full investigation in the case of Safdar's arrest.

Several police officers on Tuesday applied for leave in order to "come out of the [...] shock" caused by the registration of an FIR and arrest of Safdar, according to Dawn.

Meanwhile, Maryam tweeted, "It's heartening to see civilians breaking shackles of fear, standing up for supremacy of constitution & reclaiming their long lost rights. The conspiracy & conspirators stand badly exposed. Thank you @BBhuttoZardari for your support & clear stance. Pakistan has changed."

Dawn reported PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif as saying that the events that unfolded in Karachi were "clear proof of our narrative that there is 'a state above the state'".

"You made a mockery of the elected provincial government's powers...brought a bad name to the Pakistan Army", he said while not naming anyone. (ANI)

 
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