Pak army chief orders probe into ‘kidnap’ of police chief to force arrest of Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law

Awan was arrested on Monday by Punjab police that forcibly entered his hotel room in Karachi, where he was staying with his wife and PML-N vice-president Maryam Sharif after a massive rally a day earlier by a joint opposition front in the port city.
Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif at a press conference regarding the arrest of her husband, Mohammad Safdar Awan, in Karachi, on October 19.(AP)
Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif at a press conference regarding the arrest of her husband, Mohammad Safdar Awan, in Karachi, on October 19.(AP)
Updated on Oct 21, 2020 10:40 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Islamabad | ByImtiaz Ahmad

Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has ordered an inquiry into the kidnapping of the Sindh police chief by paramilitary Rangers Force to compel him to sign orders that had led to the brief arrest of Muhammad Safdar Awan, the son-in-law of exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Awan was arrested on Monday by Punjab police that forcibly entered his hotel room in Karachi, where he was staying with his wife and PML-N vice-president Maryam Sharif after a massive rally a day earlier in the port city.

The organisers of the rally, the joint opposition front Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), had alleged that the arrest came after Pakistan paramilitary abducted Punjab local police chief and made him register cases against Awan and 200 others including Maryam Nawaz for sloganeering at the mausoleum of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

The probe order came after more than 20 senior-most officers of the provincial police force, including the police chief, decided to go on leave to protest against the abduction and the demoralising effect the action had on the police force.

After the inquiry was ordered, police chief Mushtaq Mahar said he would be taking back his leave application and urged his colleagues to do the same and instead wait for the outcome of the inquiry.

Awan’s arrest came hours after Maryam addressed the PDM’s protest rally, targeting the administration of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“Police broke my room door at the hotel I was staying at in Karachi and arrested Capt. Safdar,” Maryam had tweeted.

Safdar was charged with “violating the sanctity of the mausoleum” of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi.

The police action reportedly came after Khurram Sherzaman, a member of Imran Khan’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Party, lodged complaints against Maryam and Safdar at a local police station in Karachi.

PTI leaders were reportedly angered by “slogans raised at the mausoleum” targeting Khan’s administration. Video clips circulating on social media apparently showed Safdar and several others chanting slogans from the inner circle of the mausoleum. Political activities are banned inside the mausoleum and its immediate surroundings.

Earlier on Sunday, Maryam, her husband and PML-N supporters had visited the mausoleum to offer prayers ahead of the PDM’s rally that was held in Karachi’s Jinnah ground, located near the mausoleum.

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