Pak Army chief orders inquiry into 'incident' involving arrest of Sharif's son-in-law

Elias Hubbard
October 22, 2020

Amid the ongoing political turmoil in Pakistan, Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday (October 20) ordered an enquiry into rumours that Sindh police chief was kidnapped by Pakistan army troops in order to put pressure on Karachi police to arrest Safdar Awan, the son-in-law of former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The police thanked the army chief for ordering an inquiry into the incident.

Launched last month, the PDM has so far held two large anti-government demonstrations, first in the central city of Gujranwala on Friday and then in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province, on Sunday. "We will not let police be demoralised under any condition", he said.

"There is no doubt that the Sindh police officers went on leave at the behest of [the PPP]", said Science Minister Fawad Chaudhry.

A senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the matter, confirmed the incident to Al Jazeera, saying soldiers from the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers were sent to the police chief's home after he initially refused to arrest the politician.

Earlier today, Inspector General of Police (IG) Sindh and other top police officials in the province had requested to go on leave in protest over mishandle and ridicule of the Sindh police officials in an episode involving the arrest of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Captain (retd) Safdar Awan.

Following the controversy, Gen Bajwa directed the Karachi Corps Commander to "immediately inquire into the circumstances to determine the facts and report back as soon as possible".

Safdar, a retired Army officer, and his wife PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz were in Karachi to attend the rally of the Opposition parties when he was arrested. Police allegedly forcibly entered their room in the hotel after breaking the latch of the door.

Pakistan has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel calling on the United Kingdom to deport former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to serve a corruption prison sentence.

The incident left the provincial PPP government red faced as the couple was their guest in Karachi.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Wednesday said that the government is working with British authorities to finalise the modalities for Nawaz's return, while Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry expressed the hope that the return will take place by January 15.

Speaking of the case of former finance minister Ishaq Dar - also in London and who has been declared an absconder by an accountability court on corruption charges - he said: "Ishaq Dar is not a convict, he is undergoing sentence [.] we have a [Memorandum of Understanding] with the United Kingdom authorities and they will implement the decision through the court".

"They have tried to spark a conflict between the institutions [and] are trying to create uncertainty and unrest".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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