Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has taken notice of and ordered an immediate inquiry into the “Karachi incident”, the military’s media wing said on Tuesday.
He has directed the Karachi Corps Commander to “immediately inquire into the circumstances to determine the facts and report back as soon as possible”, according to the statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
While the ISPR did not specify which incident it was referring to, the statement comes minutes after PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari called on “institutions” to investigate the circumstances surrounding the arrest of PML-N leader retired Capt Mohammad Safdar in Karachi a day earlier.
Safdar and his wife, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, were in the city to attend a rally of the opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) when he was arrested from their hotel early on Monday morning. He was subsequently released on bail.
Addressing a press conference in Karachi, Bilawal said 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.
Read more; Bilawal urges army chief to probe into ‘matter of pressurising’ Sindh police chief
He also demanded to know the identities of “the two people who went inside the IG’s house” and where they allegedly took the police chief at around 4am.
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.
In the audio clip circulating on Twitter, Zubair purportedly said that Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah confirmed to him that police was pressured into making the arrest. “When they (police) refused to do that, Rangers kidnapped [the IGP],” Zubair said.
Maryam had also alleged that the Sindh police chief was forcibly “taken to the sector commander’s office and asked to sign on the arrest orders”. She claimed that when the IGP showed reluctance, he was told that the arrest would be carried out by the Rangers. “After his signatures were forcibly taken on the arrest orders, he was told police would carry out the arrest.”
Also Read: IG Sindh Mushtaq Mahar, several other Sindh Police officials seek leave after Capt Safdar controversy
The allegation was denied by Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi as “nonsense narrative”.
Terming the manner in which Safdar was arrested as “shameful”, Bilawal said he could not condemn it enough.
“I am ashamed [and] unable to show my face over what has taken place in my province,” he added.
He said there was a furore over the political slogans raised by Safdar at the Quaid’s mausoleum, but asked why no action was taken when PTI workers “did similar sloganeering” during Imran Khan’s visit to the tomb and when “banned outfits” raised their own slogans there.