ISI, Rangers officials involved in 'Karachi incident' removed, says ISPR

'Decision taken in light of Court of Inquiry's recommendations'

Our Correspondent November 10, 2020
COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa. PHOTO: FILE


The Pakistan Army on Tuesday announced the removal of officers involved in the ‘Karachi incident’ which preceded the arrest of PML-N leader Capt (retd) Safdar on the morning of October 19 in the port city.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the military media's wing stated that the decision for their removal has been taken on the basis of the Court of Inquiry's recommendations. The officers will be removed from their current assignments for further departmental proceedings and disposal at GHQ.

The inquiry, carried out on the orders of Chief Of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, pertaining to the issue of redressing IG Sindh's grievances in the backdrop of October 18, 2020 Karachi incident has been completed, the statement read.

"The Court of Inquiry has established that on night 18 / 19 Oct officers from Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) and ISI sector Headquarters Karachi were considerably seized with the fall out of desecration of Mazar-e-Quaid. They were under increasing public pressure to ensure prompt action as per the law," the ISPR's statement adds.

"Assessing the response of police authorities against this developing yet volatile situation to be slow and wanting, in a charged environment, the concerned ISI / Rangers officers decided to act, rather over zealously. They were indeed experienced enough to have acted more prudently and could have avoided creating an unwarranted situation that led to misunderstanding between the two state institutions," the release further maintained.

The arrest, what followed

On the morning of October 19, Sindh Police arrested former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law, Captain Safdar from his hotel room in Karachi.

The arrest came in response to a case filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf local MPAs against Maryam Nawaz, Captain (retd) Safdar and other PML-N leaders for violating the sanctity of the Quaid's mausoleum, on the day of the Pakistan Democratic Movement's (PDM) power show in Karachi on October 18.

In the events that followed the arrest, the PML-N and PPP demanded an explanation and an inquiry after the news that Sindh IG Mushtaq Mahar ordered Capt Sardar's arrest 'under duress' started doing the rounds. The Sindh chief minister also ordered an iquiry into the matter.

Later, addressing the media after a press conference of Sindh chief minister, Bilawal revealed that Sindh police’s top officers including IGP Mushataq Mahar had decided to go on two-month leave for being “ridiculed and mishandled”.

“Top officers of Sindh police are going on leave not because they were pressured by the Sindh government but by the other side,” Bilawal had said without naming anyone.

Terming the manner in which Safdar was arrested as "shameful", Bilawal said he could not condemn it enough. "I am ashamed [and] unable to show my face over what has taken place in my province," he had added.

"Harassing them (Maryam and Safdar) early in the morning and arresting Safdar is an insult to the people of Sindh who had invited Maryam sahiba and the N-league delegation to attend the PDM jalsa," the PPP leader said.

The PPP chief said the purpose of his press conference was to express solidarity with the Sindh police to increase their morale. “We can carry out an investigation as well but it will be more appropriate if the army chief and the ISI chief also take action,” he added.

"Who were the people who surrounded the Sindh IGP’s house at 4 in the morning?” he asked.

Soon after his press conference, the army chief telephoned him to discuss “the Karachi incident”.


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