A civil war is brewing in Pakistan after deadly clashes broke out between Sindh police and Pakistani army over the illegal detention of Sindh police chief. As per reports, Sindh province’s top cop Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar was kept hostage for four hours at the office of the sector commander of the Pakistan Rangers. He was reportedly forced to register a case against PML-N leader Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar. Safdar is former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam’s husband.
On October 19, Maryam took to Twitter to inform that her husband was arrested by police.
She said she was sleeping in the hotel room when the police barged in and arrested her husband.
Police broke my room door at the hotel I was staying at in Karachi and arrested Capt. Safdar.— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) October 19, 2020
However, Pakistan’s Minister and PTI leader Ali Haider Zaidi had refuted the claim and appreciated ‘quick action’ against the ‘hooligans’ who ‘disrespected’ the mausoleum of Jinnah.
I was in the room, sleeping, when they barged in. https://t.co/1gMEHHUnPx— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) October 19, 2020
A message for all those chanting slogans for the sanctity of vote:— Ali Haider Zaidi (@AliHZaidiPTI) October 19, 2020
Character, behavior & morality defines the sanctity of vote. Criminals chanting empty slogans will not protect the vote neither the rights of voters. This nation will not tolerate corrupt politicians any more.
Reportedly, Safdar and his wife, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz had visited the Karachi to attend a rally of the opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) against Pakistan government and Prime Minister Imran Khan.
For God’s sake people come here to pay respect to the founding father. اللہ ہمارے حال پر رحم فرمائے pic.twitter.com/LJStWLFIs5— Khawar Ghumman (@Ghummans) October 18, 2020
At the protest, Safdar had allegedly chanted slogans such as, “Give respect to the vote!”. Reportedly, these slogans are viewed in Pakistan as a strong criticism against Pakistan’s military, which has often ruled Pakistan directly or indirectly for the last seven decades. An FIR was registered against Safdar, Maryam and 200 others for ‘violating the sanctity’ of the grave.
Soon after the arrest, former Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair – who is also the spokesperson of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz claimed that Sindh Inspector General Police (IGP) Mushtaq Mahar was coerced into arresting Safdar. He said that the Rangers kidnapped Mahar at 4 AM and took him to military office where he was forced to issue arrest orders for Safdar.
According to the reports, Pakistan Army Rangers was put on high alert in the province of Sindh on Tuesday after Sindh Police and Pakistan Army exchanged fire over the detention of Sindh cop Mahar.
A report by Pakistan-based media, The International Herald stated that the “civil war” between Sindh Police and Pakistan Army that broke out in Karachi on Tuesday, resulted in the death of at least 10 Karachi police officers.
BREAKING : Civil war in Pakistan. Reported clashes between Karachi Police & Pak Army pic.twitter.com/tQsUWPx5pa— The International Herald (@TheIntlHerald) October 20, 2020
However, media reports had suggested contrarily claiming that five officers of Pakistan Army were killed during the clashes. Interestingly, Pakistan media has not been putting the number of the deceased in the clashes.
Sindh police goes on leave ‘en masse’, later backtracks
Following the attacks on Sindh police and the ‘humiliation’ meted out to them by the Pakistan Army, senior Sindh Police officers have decided to go on leave, with the senior officers of the Sindh Police saying that the episode had left police “shocked and demoralised”.
A leave application signed by AIG Special Branch Imran Yaqoob, which has gone viral on social media, said that he wishes to proceed on leave because the police high command has been “ridiculed and mishandled”, which has now to demoralisation within the ranks of Sindh Police.
An overwhelming response from Sindh Police to Deep State. pic.twitter.com/0NWVXiGMsh— Qaiser (@Kali_Ghata) October 20, 2020
In a series of tweets, Sindh provincial police also added that the “unfortunate incident” had “caused great heartache and resentment within all ranks of Sindh Police”. Police thanked the army chief for ordering an investigation into the incident.
As a result, IG Sindh decided to proceed on leave and subsequently all ranks decided that they would also apply for leave to protest the humiliation meted out to Sindh police. This was a spontaneous and heartfelt reaction and made on an individual rather than a collective basis,— Sindh Police (@sindhpolicedmc) October 20, 2020
which he has also assured will be impartial in order to restore the prestige of Sindh police. Sindh Police is also grateful to the chairman of the PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and the honourable CM Sindh for coming to the IG House and showing solidarity with the police leadership.— Sindh Police (@sindhpolicedmc) October 20, 2020
According to a Geo News report, at least 12-13 other police officers have submitted similar leave requests. The officers have reportedly stated that if their request for leave is not accepted, they will stop showing up to their postings.
However, hours later, Sindh Inspector-General Police Mushtaq Mahar took an u-turn from his earlier decision and said that he has deferred his own leave. He also ordered police officers to set aside their leave applications for at least ten days in the “larger national interest” till the conclusion of Captain (retd) Safdar’s arrest inquiry.
Pakistan Army chief orders immediate inquiry into ‘Karachi incident’
Following the illegal detention of Sindh police chief and the subsequent clashes on the streets of Karachi, Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa took notice of the violent incident and reportedly ordered an immediate inquiry into the “Karachi incident”.
According to ISPR, the Pakistan Army Chief has directed the Karachi Corps Commander to “immediately inquire into the circumstances to determine the facts and report back as soon as possible”.
The probe by Pakistan Army came after PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had called on General Bajwa and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Faiz Hameed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the arrest of PML-N leader retired Capt Mohammad Safdar in Karachi.