Pakistan police briefly detain Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law
Pakistani police on Monday briefly detained the son-in-law of exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, allegedly forcing their way into his hotel room in Karachi, just hours after a massive rally was held in the port city by a joint opposition front that seeks the ouster of the Imran Khan government.
“Police broke my room door at the hotel I was staying at in Karachi and arrested” Muhammad Safdar Awan, said Maryam Nawaz, PML-N vice-president, who had addressed the rally on Sunday. She said she was asleep when the police “barged in” her hotel room where she was staying with her husband.
She alleged that Karachi police were being used by “unknown but known forces” to suppress their voice, implying that the military had a hand in her husband’s arrest. Safar was freed later after a court granted him bail, his party and family said. The 11-party Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) claimed earlier that the provincial police chief of Sindh was kidnapped by paramilitary forces and made to register cases against him and 200 others, including Maryam Nawaz.
Safdar on Sunday had visited the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan’s founder, and led a crowd in chanting, “Give respect to the vote.”
That slogan was viewed as criticism of Pakistan’s military, which ruled the country directly or indirectly for much of its history. Also, chanting political slogans at Jinnah’s tomb is widely considered a taboo. Police say they arrested Safdar after receiving a complaint from a citizen.
At Sunday’s rally, Maryam attacked Prime Minister Imran Khan. “When you are pressed for answers, you hide behind the armed forces. You coward! You bring the army into disrepute. You use them (the army) to hide your own failures. Who gave you this right?” she said.
Maryam also responded to comments made by Khan a day earlier. “You tell people not to worry because there’s been only one rally. But you are already worried.” She asked him to not think about banning PML-N, asserting that it’s the country’s biggest political party. She was softer towards the military, saying the PDM was not against the army but only a few generals.