Pakistan military to probe opposition allegation of pressuring police

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Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan’s military chief has ordered an inquiry into allegations {that a} provincial police chief was forcibly taken from his home by paramilitary forces and pressured into arresting the son-in-law of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The inquiry comes as provincial police chief Mushtaq Mehar and greater than 50 different senior law enforcement officials within the southern province of Sindh, the place the arrest was made, utilized to go on go away on Tuesday, referencing the incident in just about similar go away software letters.
“[The army chief] has directed Commander Karachi Corps to immediately inquire into the circumstances to determine the facts and report back as soon as possible,” learn a quick navy assertion launched on Tuesday night time.
Muhammad Safdar outdoors a Karachi court docket after he was granted bail on Monday [Shahzaib Akber/EPA]On Wednesday, the provincial police division stated the choice by the senior management to go on go away had been “deferred” for 10 days, pending the result of the inquiry.
Muhammad Safdar, the husband of former three-time PM Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, was arrested within the early hours of Monday morning after police broke into his lodge room to take him into custody. He was launched on bail hours later.
Safdar was accused of partaking in political exercise on the mausoleum of Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. On Sunday, he had led a charged crowd of dozens elevating slogans and chants towards Prime Minister Imran Khan’s authorities throughout a go to to the mausoleum.
That go to got here forward of a significant anti-government demonstration by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), of which Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) social gathering is a component.
The rally attracted tens of hundreds of protesters in Karachi, the capital of Sindh, on Sunday.
Supporters of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) wave flags throughout an anti-government protest rally in Karachi [File: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters]Following the protest rally, experiences emerged of provincial police chief Mehar being forcibly faraway from his home and ordered to take Safdar into custody.
Allegations of ‘manhandling’ of police officer
A senior official, talking on situation of anonymity given the sensitivity of the matter, confirmed the incident to Al Jazeera, saying troopers from the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers have been despatched to the police chief’s home after he initially refused to arrest the politician.
“At 4am [on Monday], when [the intelligence agencies] got quite frustrated that they would not be able to [arrest Safdar], they went in with about nine paramilitary Rangers vehicles to the inspector general’s house to force him to come to a meeting with the [intelligence services] sector commander, to insist that he should authorise [the arrest],” stated the official.
“There was no manhandling, to my knowledge, but it is disrespectful, to say the least, to send the Rangers to his house [and] to then force and coerce him.”
Launched final month, the PDM has thus far held two giant anti-government demonstrations, first within the central metropolis of Gujranwala on Friday after which in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province, on Sunday. Further protests are deliberate for the approaching weeks.
The alliance, a gaggle of 11 main opposition political events, has been marked by its blunt rhetoric almost about the alleged political position of the nation’s highly effective navy, which has immediately dominated Pakistan for roughly half of its 73-year historical past.
In an unprecedented speech on the rally in Gujranwala, PML-N chief Sharif, who was eliminated by the Supreme Court in 2017 and subsequently jailed on corruption expenses, named military chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa as being “responsible” for the toppling of his authorities.
“General Qamar Javed Bajwa, you packed up our government, which was working well, and put the nation and the country at the altar of your wishes,” he stated, in feedback that have been censored on all Pakistani tv channels based mostly on authorities orders.
Sharif additionally accused Bajwa of pressuring the judiciary and the nation’s anti-corruption watchdog to pursue circumstances towards opposition leaders, and of putting in Khan within the controversial 2018 elections.
Khan and the navy have routinely denied any accusations of rigging within the 2018 polls, and the prime minister has usually stated he and the navy “are on the same page”.
Under Khan, the navy has taken an overt position in governance, with senior serving and retired officers appointed to key positions within the safety, well being, telecommunications and different sectors.
A just lately retired lieutenant-general, Asim Saleem Bajwa, serves because the chief of the authority that manages the $60bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiatives.
The authorities has dismissed the opposition’s protest motion as an try to deflect the continuing anti-corruption drive, which has seen dozens of outstanding politicians jailed as investigations into corruption allegations towards them proceed.
Besides Sharif, former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chief, Asif Ali Zardari, Sharif’s daughter and political inheritor Maryam Nawaz, former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and others are going through corruption investigations.
Sharif was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in jail by an anti-corruption court docket in July 2018, days forward of the polls. He is at the moment out on medical bail and has been addressing PDM rallies by video hyperlink from the United Kingdom. Appeals in his case proceed.
On Wednesday, authorities ministers dismissed the move to go on go away by the Sindh provincial police management as being pushed by the opposition PPP, which holds energy in Sindh and to whom the police report.
“There is no doubt that the Sindh police officers went on leave at the behest of [the PPP],” stated Science Minister Fawad Chaudhry. “Attempts and conspiracies to degrade institutions will have to be thwarted.”
Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim.