Pakistan Army chief orders probe into 'kidnapping' of police chief
Pakistan Army's chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has ordered a probe into the alleged kidnapping of Sindh Police chief by the paramilitary Rangers Force. The police chief, Mushtaq Mehar, was allegedly facing pressure to arrest Muhammad Safdar, the son-in-law of exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Safdar was briefly arrested on Monday and was released hours later after receiving bail.
General Bajwa directed the Karachi Corps Commander to "immediately inquire into the circumstances to determine the facts and report back as soon as possible," according to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Army.
Although the ISPR did not specify what "incident" it was referring to, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said the Army chief called party chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari "over the telephone to discuss the Karachi incident." Bhutto-Zardari had urged General Bajwa and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed to investigate the arrest of Safdar, a Pakistani Muslim League (Nawaz) leader.
According to Dawn, Safdar and his wife, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, were in Karachi to attend a rally of the opposition's Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), targeting Prime Minister Imran Khan. Maryam alleged the police "barged into" their hotel room and arrested Safdar. Safdar had then moved the court to secure a post-arrest bail and was granted the same mere hours after his arrest.
The rally participants had sloganeered at the mausoleum of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi. Safdar was charged with "violating the sanctity of the mausoleum." Reportedly, Khurram Sherzaman, a member of Imran Khan's ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, had filed the complaint against Safdar and others.
The organizers of the rally had alleged that the arrest came after Pakistan paramilitary abducted Punjab local police chief and made him register a case against Safdar, along with 200 others (including Maryam Nawaz). The Army probe was ordered after 20 senior-most officers of the provincial police force went on leave in protest against the alleged abduction.