Pakistan abuzz with rumours of 'civil war’ after reports of abduction of Sindh police chief

1 month ago 7

Pakistan's army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa ordered an inquiry into the alleged abduction of Sindh police chief to force him to order the arrest of the exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law from his hotel room in Karachi.

The probe, ordered by the country's army chief came after local politicians alleged that Sindh province's top police official, Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar, had been abducted on Monday by paramilitary troops, who coerced him into signing an order to arrest an opposition leader, as per a Reuters report.

Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law Muhammad Safdar, a member of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party, was arrested on Monday following a protest in Karachi.

Amid the Army chief directing the Karachi Corps Commander to "immediately inquire into the circumstances", a tweet by The International Herald claimed that a “civil war” had broken out in Karachi.

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“Civil war in Pakistan. Reported clashes between Karachi Police & Pak Army,” The International Herald tweeted as it also posted a video. The report, however, haven’t been confirmed by reliable sources so far.

“Heavy fire between Pak Army and Sindh Police in Karachi after Pak Army tried to take custody of a Superintendent of Sindh Police Md Aftab Anwar. 5 Pak Army officers died in firing,” another tweet read.

The Army chief on Tuesday directed an inquiry into the circumstances to determine the facts and file a report as soon as possible, news agency PTI reported.

“Taking notice of Karachi incident, the COAS has directed Karachi Corps Commander to immediately inquire into the circumstances to determine the facts and report back as soon as possible,” a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

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The statement came after PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addressed a press conference, demanding that the Army chief and the ISI chief to probe the matter as the paramilitary Frontier Corps, controlled by the Army, was accused of forcing the police to arrest Safdar, PTI report added.

Safdar, a retired Pakistan Army officer, and his wife, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, were in Karachi to attend a rally of the opposition's Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) when he was arrested from their hotel for allegedly disrespecting the mausoleum of the country's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He was subsequently released on bail.

Police allegedly forcibly entered their room in the hotel after breaking the latch of the door.

The incident left the provincial government of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) red faced as the couple was their guest in Karachi where the PPP chief and Maryam had jointly addressed a political gathering against the government on Sunday night, as per the report.

Top ranking officers of Sindh Police on leave

At least 13 top-ranking officers of the Sindh Police have decided to go on leave to protest the manner in which the force had been "ridiculed" in the incident involving the arrest of Safdar, PTI reported.

According to the report, the senior officers said they want to go on earned leave "to come out of the shock of the unfortunate incident."

"The recent episode of registration of FIR against Capt (R) Safdar in which police high command has not only been ridiculed and mishandled, but all ranks of Sindh police have been demoralised and shocked.”

"In such stressful situations it is quite difficult for me to discharge my duty in a professional manner," the letters by the officers read.

(With Reuters, PTI inputs)

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